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A Look into the Identity of Roy CohnA fundamental theme in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Part One: Millennium Approachesis the way people are recognized in both society and in their own eyes; an idea that is also known as identity. Through the use of his multitude of diverse characters, Kushner is able to present the reader with questions such as how are individuals labeled and who is in control of how they are identified? In this play, Kushner explains the nature of identity through the depiction and development of his characters. In particular, I felt that Roy Cohn was an intriguing character that helped the reader address the answer to these questions. Kushner portrays Roy as a wealthy, homosexual male who identifies himself differently, in his own eyes, than how he is labeled in society.Although Roy perceives himself differently than other people perceive him, there are areas in which both he and society agree upon. Kushner makes Roy come out to be a powerful New York lawyer who has connections; who can “… pick up this phone, punch in fifteen numbers…,” and be talking to the President’s wife (51). Both he and everyone would agree that he is a person who works very hard and is successful at what he does, demonstrating his skills right when we first meet him
juggling multiple telephone conversations in his office. Although Roy may deny it, he knows along with everyone else that he is corrupt and believes that “Politics… [is] the game of being alive,” (74). This belief allows him to justify requesting Joe to illegally help him escape disbarment for “…borrow[ing] half a million dollars from one of his clients,” (72). The divide in the perception of Roy’s identity occurs on the