Angels in America
Love and Justice
In 1992, American playwright Tony Kushner first commissioned and performed the award-winning, two-part play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Kushner developed the play to work synonymously with whom actors play two or more roles. Following the mass success of the theatre, Kushner was approached by Mike Nichols to adapt Angels in America to an HBO miniseries, where each "chapter" was allocated into one-hour segments for television.
The story of Angels in America focuses on the troubled and seemingly overt parallel lives of two couples, one gay and the other straight during the mid 1980's in New York City at the height of the AIDS epidemic. The eventual fate of both couples become intertwined and revered as the faceted meanings of homosexuality, religion, politics and AIDS collide to find a common ground. Throughout the story, the characters develop the theme for love and justice, and learn what it means to forgive and care for each other when they are needed most from their loved ones. This in-depth depiction of betrayal and asking for one's forgiveness, known limitations and finding room for personal growth and change is the backbone of Angels in America.
Comparing and Contrasting Figures
The characters from Angels in America are contrasted from vast differences among nationality, race, religion and sexual preference. These differences show the sense of community, or lack-thereof, portraying the national image of humanity to change. Out of all the characters in the play, Belize, being the most ethical and self-balanced, has always come to the calling of the other characters throughout the story. Towards the end of the play, Belize calls upon Louis to recite the prayer of the dead (a Jewish recital in Hebrew), where he states at Roy Cohn's deathbed "It isn't easy, it doesn't count if it's easy, it's the hardest thing. Forgiveness. Which is maybe where love and justice finally meet. Peace, at last. Isn't that what the Kaddish asks for?" This particular passage in the story can be compared in some sense to every character. The inevitable questions that arise from love and justice, upon abandonment of loved ones or knowing how to care for others is a key factor in building on forgiveness.
The character Prior Walter, whom is introduced to us in the beginning, is our main sufferer, our protagonist. His boyfriend, Louis, a neurotic and self-centered Jew, abandons him after knowing he has contracted HIV (AIDS) early in the story and shows general strength and willpower that he is strong but dying. After being sent to the hospital, Prior gains a power and authority beyond everyone else's capabilities. This power was invested in him through the work of an angel visiting from heaven. Prior is visited by this angel numerous times and is entitled as a Prophet for humanity.
On another parallel of the story, Harper and Joe Pitt are inescapably stuck in a failing marriage. Harper, Joe's wife, is introduced to us as a valium-addicted agoraphobic, who never leaves the house and imagines that she is visited by numerous characters that help her escape reality. These hallucinations of traveling to different places are what help Harper deal with the fact of believing her husband, Joe, is probably homosexual. Through one of these valium-induced dreams, she counter-collides with Prior, whom they share "revelations" about each other. It is after this encounter that Harper finds out that her husband is gay, and slowly but willfully takes her destiny into her own hands.
These two characters, Prior and Harper, both command a similar plot outline throughout the story. In the beginning, when Prior and Harper both seemingly find themselves in the same dream, Harper's visage explains to Prior about finding themselves through the hallucination, by use of understanding un-truthfulness
that "Nothing unknown is knowable". It is through this that Harper discovers that Prior...
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