Skip Nav

Angels in America Critical Essays

Study Questions

❶The work premiered at the Guthrie in April

Navigate Guide

Critical Evaluation
From the SparkNotes Blog
Navigation menu

This is law totally divorced from justice. Despite his flaws, Louis offers a different model for the relationship between the two values. Louis is also preoccupied with the law, both earthly and Biblical—he asks Rabbi Chemelwitz for scriptural advice on his predicament with Prior—but his view is more virtuous and humane.

In Act One, Scene Eight of Millennium, he tells Prior that in his view the "shaping of the law, not its execution" is most important. For Roy, all that matters is the outcome, the tangible result; Louis cares about the weighing of right and wrong, the morality of a situation, rather than a specific outcome he can manipulate or use. The final fight between Louis and Joe tests the conflict between these two opposing viewpoints. Louis criticizes Joe for his decisions, which cleverly adopt the letter of the law without considering its spirit or the effects on real people.

In this clash of views, Louis's is definitely depicted as superior: Joe has no substantial role in the play after this scene, while Louis is allowed to take part in the utopian epilogue. Thus, the play clearly encourages a more visionary potential for the law. By using real court decisions as the models for Joe's decisions, moreover, and by criticizing the real-life Reagan administration, it also insists that that potential be applied to the political world rather than simply everyday moral conundrums.

The character of Belize stands out as exceptionally compassionate and good and yet at times seemingly two-dimensional. Which view is correct? Is Belize a virtuous stereotype or a complex moral authority?

Belize is the only non-white character in the play; as such, he seems to carry the special burden of representing the point of view of an entire community. This is especially true when contrasted with the wide range of viewpoints presented by members of other minority groups, especially gays, of course, who range from the dismally conservative Roy to the progressive optimist Louis. In the debate scene between Belize and Louis, Belize consistently argues a position that we might consider the "black response" to Louis's unintentional racism.

It is less an individual point of view than a generic corrective to a particular white character's excess. Belize's lack of individual distinctiveness is heightened by the fact that he has less of an individual history or a personal life than the other characters: Despite the fact that we might want to know more about Belize's history, however, we should not discredit Kushner for making the decision to make Belize's race a major part of his character. Perestroika, a Russian word meaning "reconstruction" or "reorganization," was the term for Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of political and economic reform in the Soviet Union.

In what ways does the play represent the possibility of perestroika in America? Is this an appropriate title for Part Two? Choosing at least two examples the Rosenberg trial, the San Francisco earthquake, Chernobyl, the Reagan administration , analyze the role of history in the play.

Does Kushner depict events more or less as they happened? If not, what dramatic and thematic purposes does he serve by shading the facts? As a "fantasia," Angels in America is a major departure from prevailing theatrical realism, with detours into the religious and the supernatural—angels, ghosts, apparitions and visions appear over and over.

The play garnered much praise upon its release for its dialogue and exploration of social issues. A decade after the play's premiere, Metro Weekly labeled it "one of the most important pieces of theater to come out of the late 20th century.

By contrast, in an essay titled "Angles in America", Lee Siegel wrote in The New Republic , " Angels in America is a second-rate play written by a second-rate playwright who happens to be gay, and because he has written a play about being gay, and about AIDS, no one—and I mean no one—is going to call Angels in America the overwrought, coarse, posturing, formulaic mess that it is.

In response to the frank treatment of homosexuality and AIDS, and brief male nudity, the play quickly became subject to controversial reaction from conservative and religious groups, sometimes labelled as being part of the " culture war ". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.

For the miniseries, see Angels in America miniseries. Angels in America miniseries. Seattle Times , June 25, Act I, Scene 1". Angels In America , Revised and Completed ed. The Complete Oral History". Archived from the original on June 10, Zachary Quinto flies high in perfect revival of Tony Kushner play". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 20, National Post , August 8, Accessed 11 October El Nuevo Dia in Spanish.

Superior acting delivers brilliant and moving work". The New York Times. Angels in America on HBO: Retrieved December 6, Artists' Values and Public Funding for the Arts".

Awards for Angels in America. Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play. Millennium Approaches Angels in America: Helpmann Award for Best Play.

Laurence Olivier Award for Best Revival. Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A Parable Rabbit Hole August: Tony Award for Best Play. Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.

This page was last edited on 11 September , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. Best Actor in a Play. Best Featured Actor in a Play. Best Featured Actress in a Play. Best Direction of a Play. Best Scenic Design in a Play. Outstanding Actor in a Play. Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. Outstanding Director of a Play.

Outstanding Actress in a Play. Best Revival of a Play.

Suggested Essay Topics

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

- Angels in America The play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, by Tony Kushner, contained situations in which characters’ personalities underwent great changes from the beginning of .

Privacy FAQs

Essay on Angels in America Words | 5 Pages. Angels in America The play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, by Tony Kushner, contained situations in which characters’ personalities underwent great changes from the beginning of the play to the end. One of the most significant and noticeable changes was that of Harper.

About Our Ads

Join Now Log in Home Literature Essays Angels in America Angels in America Essays Identitiy Crisis: The Inward Voyage Anonymous Angels in America. At the first scene of Tony Kushner’s drama Angels in America (), Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz's eulogy for Sarah . Essay on Queer Binaries in Kushner's Angels in America This paper will discuss Tony Kushner’s Angels in America - A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, published in The play gives insight into what it meant to be a gay American in the late 20th century showing accurate depictions of social, medical, religious, and political life.

Cookie Info

Angels in America Essay Topics & Writing Assignments Tony Kushner This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials. As a "fantasia," Angels in America is a major departure from prevailing theatrical realism, with detours into the religious and the supernatural—angels, ghosts, apparitions and visions appear over and over. What effect do these fantastical elements have on the play as a whole?