Rent Themes

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Betrayal

The characters must deal with an overwhelming sense of betrayal—by their bodies, by the materialistic society in which they live, and by people they have trusted. Their bodies betray them after they contract HIV, slowly shutting down as their immune systems weaken and allow them to fall prey to various illnesses. Their society has let them down in its promotion of its vision of the American dream, which depends solely on upward social mobility and financial gains. The artists of the East Village are ignored in this system, unless they sell out to soulless corporations, such as the sleazy television newsmagazine that hires Mark to exploit the plight of the homeless for profit. One of the homeless people whom Mark films makes him realize that he has compromised his art when he angrily declares, “I don't need no [g—— d——] help / From some bleeding heart cameraman / My...

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This section contains 485 words
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Buy the Rent Study Guide
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