Angels in America

We Will Be Citizens: Religion and Homosexuality as National Themes in Angels in America College

We Will Be Citizens:

Religion and Homosexuality as National Themes in Angels in America

Tony Kushner’s two-part play, Angels in America, claims to be “a gay fantasia on national themes” (Kushner). The intertwining stories center around the emergence of the AIDS virus in the late 1980’s, and manages to give faces and lives to some of the countless people who were victims of what is considered by many to be a plague. But while the AIDS virus is at the center of attention in Angels, Kushner also highlights the theme of religion in America in increasingly subversive ways. Through multi-faceted characters, and their complicated relationships, Kushner tells the story of Judaism and Mormonism individually as national themes in a way that impacts just as forcefully as the more centered gay narrative. Finally, he crosses paths, and the three themes – Mormonism, Judaism, and homosexuality – begin to tell the same narrative of painful otherness, journey, and redemption in the modern American landscape.

Angels has three leading characters that identify as Mormon. Joe is a Mormon man suppressing his sexuality, while his wife Harper deals with the trauma of anxiety and addiction. Finally, Joe’s mother Hannah picks up her life in Salt Lake...

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