The Preformity Of Sexuality In Tony Kushner's Angels In America?

Satisfactory Essays
In an effort to legitimize all subcategories of sexuality considered deviant of heterosexual normatively, queer theory acknowledges nontraditional sexual identities by rejecting the rigid notion of stabilized sexuality. It shares the ideals of gender theory, applying to sexuality the idea that gender is a performative adherence to capitalist structures that inform society of what it means to be male, female, gay, and straight. An individual’s conformity to sexual or gendered expectations indicates both perpetration and victimization of the systemic oppression laid down by patriarchal foundations in the interest of maintaining power within a small group of people. Seeking to deconstruct the absolute nature of binary opposition, queer theory highlights and celebrates literary examples of gray areas specifically regarding sexual orientation, and questions those which solidify heterosexuality as the “norm”, and anything outside of it as the “other”.
The difficulty of determining what gay and lesbian text is poses a challenge in finding material applicable to queer theory. However, being subtitled as a Gay Fantasia on National Themes by its openly homosexual author, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America is most appropriately viewed through this lens, as the play’s content directly illustrates the purpose of queer theory. Entangling the personal with the political, Kushner seeks to deconstruct the heteronormative agenda by illustrating the relationship between Reagan, AIDS, religion, and homosexuality through their impact on his characters. All struggling with some aspect of homosexuality, each perspective told in the play expresses the depth at which societal norms damage the freedom of American citizens. With sexual identity at the f...

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...ntity categories. The deconstruction of binary oppositions grants people acceptance for their unfixed place within a spectrum, as demonstrated through the indefinable nature of each character’s sexuality. Queer theory denies categorical placement as a tool to adhere individuals to oppressive structures, insisting that true freedom is found in self-informed notions of what it means to be a complex range of male, female, gay, and straight, rather than those imposed. The rejection of heteronormative expectations creates an equal playing field, tearing down the social hierarchy of patriarchal ideals. As shown in Angels’ version of San Francisco, this is prophetic of ruin and social destruction to some, and a ray of hope to others. It is the optimistic promise of a better future for Kushner’s characters that make Angels in America applicable to the aims of queer theory.
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