This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Fear In Tony Kushner's Angels In America

1116 words - 4 pages

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 their lives. This technique affords him the opportunity to show that homosexual males do not all hold the same jobs and are not of one race, age, or religion. By doing this, he is succesful in showing that gay men are the same as anyone else. The only difference is who they choose to share a sexual life with. Once again modeling reality, several characters are confident in their sexuality but are hesitant to admit to it.



Roy Cohn and Joe Pitt represent the stereotypical gay man who refuses to publicly acknowledge his sexuality. They portray how gay men sometimes go to extreme lengths to deny their homosexuality. Both not only lie to others, but they lie to themselves. There is a certain sadness in the fact that some gay men desire the respect of strangers over being honest with themselves. Why do such a large number of gay men live lives in denial? The answer is simple. The answer is fear. Fear is the driving force behind many gay men's secrecy. The fear of how others may view them and the fear of how they will be received is overpowering.



Roy Cohn is a powerful, ruthless, well-connected lawyer, and he is also a closet homosexual. The reason for his double life can be traced back to...

Find Another Essay On Fear in Tony Kushner's Angels In America

Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America

1648 words - 7 pages At first glance, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America appear to serve as two individual exercises in the absurd. Varying degrees of the fantastical and bizarre drives the respective stories, and their respective conclusions hardly serve as logical resolutions to the questions that both Beckett and Kushner’s characters pose throughout the individual productions. Rather than viewing this abandonment of

Angels in America Essay

2569 words - 11 pages Angels in America is one of the most powerful plays written in the twentieth century. The play explores themes such as AIDs, homosexuality, drug addiction, spirituality, politics and identity specifically during the 1980’s. This ground breaking piece of work is not only entertaining, but also thought provoking. Angels creates dreamlike envisions of scenes and yet maintains a form of realism in the plots and characters. Tony Kushner is both the

Angels in America

1870 words - 7 pages “When MILLENNIUM APPROACHES, Part One of ANGELS IN AMERICA, opened on Broadway in 1993, Tony Kushner was hailed as the savior of serious American theater” (Gainor, Garner, and Puchner1459). When Kushner wrote Part One of this Gay Fantasia he brought together many themes and issues of the 1980s. Such themes and issues include AIDS, homosexuality, religion, and politics. As other plays a balance must be kept and so Kushner wrote this work with

Angels in America

835 words - 4 pages Angels in America is a story about two couples, which are different, but, at the same time, somehow similar. The main difference between the couples is that one gay (Louis Ironson and his lover Prior Walter), and the other traditional (Joe Pitt and his wife Harper). The story is quite simple, about ordinary people, however makes people feel the mystical atmosphere, skillfully connected with realism. As a "fantasia," Angels in America is a major

Angels in America

1212 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. She was married to the character named Joe, who she knew was gay and the way she dealt with this came to relate directly to her own sanity. In part

Theme of Selfishness in "Angels in America"

1016 words - 4 pages There are many themes can be found in the play Angels in America by Tony Kushner, such as religion, sexuality and politics. Actually, they are all connected and related to the source of selfishness, because it just acts like a road sign to give a direction to a person. Sometimes, selfishness can lead you the way to save ourselves when you are in different situations; but at the same time, selfishness can hurt and change a person deeply. In these

The Power of Angels in America

2775 words - 11 pages ability to recreate a sustaining culture and social structures, even as we are daily required to devote such time to the details of the AIDS crisis." -Cindy Patton   Tony Kushner's two-part play (or, if you will, two plays) Angels In America is one of most famous and most powerful plays about AIDS and gay life to come out of the early 1990s. It not only engages with the political issues surrounding AIDS and homosexuality in Reaganite

Homosexuals: Coming Out of the Closet in Angels in America

1580 words - 6 pages has established her or his true self. Some of the obstacles that Joe encounters in Angels in America are typical of what gay people experience when coming out the closet. The coming out the closet process may not be the same for every person. Some may experience fear, doubt, loneliness, anger and even depression whereas for some acceptance. Those that come out the closet may need to surround themselves with others that may be going through the

The Cyclical Nature of Progress within Angels in America

1098 words - 5 pages Tony Kushner, in his play Angels in America, explores a multitude of issues pertaining to modern American society including, but not limited to, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Through his diverse character selection, he is able to compare and contrast the many varied experiences that Americans might face today. Through it all, the characters’ lives are all linked together through a common thread: progress, both personal and public

Angels in Christianity

3153 words - 13 pages From the beginning of time, angels have played a significant role in Christianity and other western religions. Although, they are often seen as the supporting players in the scripture, they are an essential character to the nature of the stories mentioned in these scriptures. Therefore angels still play a significant role in Christianity and portray the character of a multifaceted and multidimensional divine being around the world (Patella 59

“Angels in America”: Why Do Men Prefer to Be on the ‘Down Low’?

1225 words - 5 pages they have neglected to go in-depth as to why men chose this lifestyle – rather than the age old notion that they fear social rejection (Pruitt, 2007). As it relates to the drama “Angels in America,” written by Tony Kushner, the work does a great job highlighting men who have secret lifestyles and two of the characters within the drama that exemplify characteristics of living on the down low – Joe Pitt and Ray Cohn (Kushner, 1993) To begin with

Similar Essays

Tony Kushner's Play, Angels In America

1313 words - 6 pages Tony Kushner’s play, Angels in America, comments on a number of social issues of its time; ranging from political to societal. Additionally, it incorporates many concepts discussed in the Modern Condition courses. Thinkers such as Nietzsche, Borges, and DeBeauvoir are specifically represented in the play through the characters presented. Kushner uses his characters to convey the ideas of these thinkers in the context of the culture the play

A.M.Holmes' Music For Torching, Seth Mac Farlane's Family Guy, And Tony Kushner's Angels In America

1940 words - 8 pages A.M.Holmes' Music For Torching, Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy, and Tony Kushner's Angels in America The social progression of America in the 20th and 21st centuries has been arguably advantageous. In the years following the feminist and civil rights movements, the United States has undeniably developed into the world’s leading democratic system. Women and minorities have equal citizenship status under the law. There are more females in the

Values And Standards In Kushner's Angels In America

1361 words - 5 pages , “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

The Function Of Dual Roles In Tony Kushner’s Angels In America

1173 words - 5 pages In Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, the interconnection of people and events, that might ordinarily be viewed as disconnected or unrelated, is implicitly presented in the characters section. Dual roles are implemented by a playwright that has one actor portraying the roles of two or more characters, with or without thematic intentions. The use of “dual roles” in several scenes of this play can be viewed as a demonstration of Kushner’s effort