Philadelphia1 referat



Andrew Beckett is a young and successful lawyer who works for a famous law-office in Philadelphia. One day he is suddenly fired by the senior partners although he is doing his job perfectly. But Andrew knows that he was fired because of his disease. Andrew has AIDS. So he tries to fight against the unfair decision.

Main characters:

Andrew Beckett

He is a successful lawyer who loses his job because of AIDS. He is a homosexual.

Joe Miller

He is the only lawyer who wants to help Andrew.

Charles Wheeler, Bob Seidman, Kenneth Killcoyne, Walter Kenton

These are the four senior partners of the firm who dismiss Andrew.

Belinda Conine

She is the lawyer who defends Wyant, Wheeler, Hellerman, Tetlow & Brown (this is the full name of the firm) at the court.


She is Andrew's secretary.



Andrew Beckett is a young and famous lawyer in a big law-office in Philadelphia. Everybody likes him but Andrew has a secret which nobody knows in the office: he has AIDS. One day the four senior partners promote him to the fifth senior partner of the firm. Andy is very surprised and happy. After his promotion he has to write a document for an important case which contains a lot of money. He saves it on his computer.

The following days Andy works at home because he has some lesions on his face which are typical symptoms of AIDS. He tells Shelby, his secretary, to print the document and send it to the responsible court because the document has to be there within the following six hours. But Shelby can't find the file on the computer. It has disappeared. Andy knows that he has already printed one and so he tells Shelby to search for it in his office. Meanwhile the other senior partners get the bad information. But after some hours Shelby finds the document and she can send it to the court in time. But the incident seems very strange to Andy because Shelby found the document at the record-office of the firm. One day later Andrew is fired. The partners tell him that he has been too incompetent in the last weeks and that the firm can not cooperate with him any longer. But Andy knows that he has been doing a good job in the last two years and that the partners only fired him because of his disease. Andrew decides to sue them for social discrimination.

The following week is very hard for Andy because he gets an infusion at the hospital every day and he has to undergo blood tests. Then he looks for a lawyer who can plead for him at the court. He visits nine lawyers but no one of them wants to help him when Andy tells them the facts. But Andy doesn't give up. He visits a young black lawyer. His name is Joe Miller. Andy knows Miller because one week before he was fired, the 'fight' against each other at the court, so Andy hopes that Joe Miller can help him, but Joe doesn't want to help Andrew because he is afraid of AIDS and he hates homosexuals. So Andrew decides to work alone for the trial but he grows weaker.

One week later Joe Miller has to read something for a case in the library. There he notices Andy near a table. He looks pale and weak. So Joe decides to help Andy. First Andrew tells him the whole story. Then they search in some books and writings for needful clues. Andy finds out that Walter Kenton, one of the senior partners, works for a law-office in Washington D.C. a few years ago, before he went to Philadelphia. There works a young secretary who is also infected with AIDS but she told everybody in the firm about her disease. So Mr. Kenton knows about the typical lesions and could have pushed the other partners to fire Andrew. Andrew and Joe work very hard but they don't have much time because Andy's condition is getting worse.

Seven months later the trial starts. The first witness is Mrs. Benedict, the AIDS-infected secretary from Washingtion D.C. She tells the judge that Mr. Kenton always behaved in a very strange way when he met her. He had always an 'Oh God, the AIDS-infected person!' look on his face. She also says that she described him the lesions. Shelby, Andrew's secretary, is the next witness. She tells the judge about the strange disappearance of the document. Then the trial makes a break for one week.

After the break Walter Kenton is the next witness. Joe found out that Kenton hates homosexuals so he asks him about his time in the Marine Corps because there he and other seamen beat up two homosexuals. And then, Kenton really tells the court the whole story about his past. After him Charles Wheeler talks about Andrew. He tells the court that Andy was a very good and talented lawyer at the beginning of his career but he got more and more incompetent in the last months. And so he nearly damaged the firm when he mislayed the document. After Mr. Wheeler the trial is adjourned for a second time. Andy is getting very weak.

The last witness is Andy himself. He tells the court that he always admired Mr. Wheeler for his coolness and cleverness and that he can't believe why Charles can be so cruel. Then Mrs. Conine asks him a lot of unpleasant and embarrassing questions about his sex-life. Andy answers honestly but suddenly he collapses.

Later the jury discuss the case. One member of the jury thinks that it is a little bit strange to let an incompetent person work out an important document and that the senior partners have prejudices against homosexuals.

After a while the jury pronounce the sentence: Wyant, Wheeler, Hellerman, Tetlow & Brown has to pay over four million dollars for mental suffering, lost salaries and commissions.

Two days later Andrew dies in the hospital. His family and his friends are very sad but they know that Andy was a kind and honest person who fought for justice.

Personal Comment

I think 'Philadelphia' is a very good sociocritical novel. It shows that a lot of people are afraid of AIDS-infected persons and that they often do not know how to handle with them. The depressing story is written in a very exciting and interesting way.

Copyright © Contact | Trimite referat