“Angels in America” is a highly dramatic piece that deals with the AIDS crisis in New York, and the lives that are impacted directly and indirectly by the disease. In this time period in which the play takes place homosexuals are struggling to obtain their rights. Reagan's reforms and policies gave homosexuals the power, and the courage to be open about their sexuality. Throughout this play coming out, and being openly gay is a evolution that Kushner bases his play on.
The play opens up with Louis Ironson, a gay Jew, finding out that his lover Prior Walter has contracted AIDS. He says to Louis, “I'm a lesionnaire. The foreign Lesion. The American Lesion. Lesionnaire's disease.” (21) Even though Louis was upset that Prior hid this fact from him he still promises Prior that he would return home to him and remain by his side.
In this play Prior Walter serves as the protagonist, the main victim whose lover forsakes him at his bedside because he is unable to cope with his illness. Louis tells Prior's nurse, “Tell him, if he wakes up and you're still on, tell him goodbye, tell him I had to go.” (52) Even though Louis c...
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...e will be citizens. The time has come.” (Part II, 148)
The characters in “Angels in America” struggles with the fear of whether or not society will accept them, and the also struggle with their inner demon. In the end all the main characters prevail. The defeat of AIDS and the struggle for gay civil rights gave homosexuals the courage to not be ashamed of their sexuality in fear of what society thinks. “We won't die secrete deaths anymore.” suggests the coming out and being open about sexuality.
1.Kushner, Tony. Angels in America. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1993. Print.
2."SparkNotes: Angels in America: Plot Overview." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. Web. 06 Mar. 2011.
3.Kushner, Tony. Perestroika. New York, NY: Theatre Communications Group, 1993. Print.
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