Angels in America

Essay by JamminJazzManHigh School, 12th gradeC+, October 2014

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Chapter I: Introduction to Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Because of the risks taken by Tony Kushner in his play Angels in America, and the audacious exhibition through which Kushner's message was delivered, the show had an incredible impact on the artistic community and opened the doors for more playwrights to take risks in their works, ultimately creating a new society through which artists could convey their messages in more intrepid ways.

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a 1993 play by Tony Kushner that won the Pulitzer Prize. It tells the painful stories of two couples, Louis Ironson and his lover Prior Walter, and Joe Pitt and his wife Harper. Issues between the protagonists arise when Prior admits to Louis that he has contracted the AIDS virus, and Louis attempts to care for Prior, but begins to buckle under the weight of the issue.

At the same time, Joe, being a lawyer, struggles with the idea of joining the Justice Department in Washington. His wife, being prone to valium-induced hallucinations and anxiety, is not keen on the idea of leaving. Prior and Joe end up crossing paths and becoming friends, Prior holding the suspicion that Joe is homosexual, which is a correct one, as Joe later comes out to his wife, "Joe: I try to tighten my heart into a knot, a snarl, I try to learn to live dead, just numb, but then I see someone I want and it's like a nail, like a hot spike right through my chest, and I know I'm losing." Prior and Harper meet in a very artistic dream sequence, wherein he reveals to her that her husband in a closeted homosexual. Another character named Roy soon also discovers that he has contracted the...