Values and Standards in Kushner's Angels in America
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What does Kushner propose about religious/personal standards, and are those standards valuable or do they cause difficulties? Many people today have a set of religious or personal standards that has aided them in obtaining their goals. However, there are many others who do their best to live up to those standards of perfection but end up living miserable lives. This essay will discuss the possible standards of Joe and Roy implied in the play, “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner, while discussing how they can be both valuable and questionable.
Kushner implies that religious ideals act as guidelines for those who follow them. He brings this point across with the character called Joe. A Mormon who has used those religious standards to fight off the “wrong or ugly” and has modified his behavior to what is “decent” or “Correct” (Angels in America pg. 40). Joe also talks about the picture where “Jacob wrestles with the angel,” Kushner mentions this to propose that Joe is Jacob and he is fighting with the flesh or something that isn't part of his religious ideals. Joe goes on to say that “losing means your soul thrown down in the dust, your heart torn out from God's,” which means that losing or in other words giving into temptation goes against those ideals (Angels in America pg. 49). Kushner conveys that religious ideals or ultimate goals that assist as a sort of road map to guide people the right way so they may be able to live happier lives.
Kushner also proposes another side to those same religious standards that he discusses throughout the play. As a Mormon, Joe has followed those ideals very closely and even though he is a respectable man he isn't happy; “I graduated fourth in my class... I...
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...and that he will never die, kushner might have added this to imply that there are a lot of old ideals that have been passed down in history and have not changed through time. Ethel, however, adds that that's all about to change because the “Millenium approaches.” The scene where the angel comes through the roof of Prior's apartment (pg. 118) is significant because Kushner shows the breakdown of all the tension and ideals that ha been brought up throughout the play. It is not a total culmination of the story but a new beginning because after destruction comes reconstruction.
It is not the right thing to follow your ideals for your own personal gain without paying attention to your surroundings because that which you did wrong yesterday will catch up to you tomorrow. It is important to have a good outlook for the future because there's always room for change.