Fear in Tony Kushner's Angels In America

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Fear in Tony Kushner's Angels In America

Both parts of Tony Kushner's play Angels in America paint a painfully truthful picture of what gay men go through. In most cases, they suffer either inner anguish or public torment. Sometimes they must endure both. Being homosexual in America is a double-edged sword. If you publicly announce that you are gay, you suffer ridicule and are mocked by the ignorant of society; but if you keep your homosexuality a secret, you are condemned to personal turmoil. Kushner's work attempts to make America take a close look at itself and hopefully change its ways. The fear of public scrutiny forces many gay men into a life of denial and secrecy.

Kushner describes a society, not unlike our own society today, that looks down upon gay men and other minorities. By setting the play in the mid 80's, a time when gay-bashing was at its zenith, he is able to capture the prejudice towards homosexuals and all that surrounds it. The early 80's was also the time when AIDS was a new disease being made aware to the mass public for the first time. By setting the story in New York City, a melting pot of different cultures and people, Kushner proves that not just one group of people come in contact with homosexuals. All of these geographical and atmosphirical forces aid in setting the mood of the play. These surroundings drive the characters to act the way they do and make the choices they make.

Angels in America centers around the gay community which is one of the most scrutinized minorities in the world today. Kushner is able to convey his view more efficiently by having a broad range of power. His characters are of more than one social standing and are at different places in ...

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...men are a minority, and like any minority there is prejudice against them. Kushner focuses on that prejudice and shows how foolish it is. He proves that gay men are not drastically different than any other man. The only difference is their sexuality, and that part of any person is no one else's business. Homosexuals and heterosexuals both feel love when in relationships, and that is where the emphasis should be placed. A person's sexual behavior should be left in the bedroom and not debated in a public forum. Neither heterosexuals nor homosexuals are better than the other. Until society as a whole makes a conscious effort to accept gay men and all minorities, prejudice will still exist and be a part of us all. No one has the right to judge another person.


Kushner, Tony. Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches. New York: TCG, 1992.

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