Angels In America Character Analysis

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Progress and it’s relation to both self-identity and perceived societal identity, is a common theme presented in the two part play, Angels in America. All the major characters in the play have an identity that they feel doesn’t fit within common culture. To the outside, these different pieces of identities are a disease in the thread of culture, and characters feel as if only time and progress will change this image. To history, the disease is actually the individuals that restrict other individuals from their rights. Roy, Prior, and Harper, all are affected by diseases that become quickly labelled as who they are because of intersectionalities of their illness and other identities. Each character chooses to reject their assigned identities…show more content…
When Prior tells his lover Louis of his illness, Louis automatically thinks to leave him, because he cannot see a future with Prior’s disease. Louis asks an apathetic Rabbi, “what does the Holy Writ say about someone who abandons someone he loves at the time of great need?”, further stating “maybe a person who has this neo-Hegelian positivist sense of constant historical progress towards happiness or perfection or someone” (25). Louis is talking about himself, using a 3rd person persona. He seems to embody the nature of the ideal American liberal politician, who feels as if ends justify the means and that a person who can’t fit into a narrow perspective of progress and future, should be left alone to suffer. He later states that “Maybe that person can’t, um, incorporate sickness into his sense of how things are suppose to go” (25). This quote characterizes Louis as a person who looks and just strives for the perfect route towards progress, which makes sense as his Jewish, gay identity is looked down upon, but is based off unrealistic ideals and kills his relationship with the one person he cares for and is actually suffering, Prior. He uses his liberal views and higher hopes for humanity to disconnect himself from his current situation. Belize calls him out of it later, starting, “Up in the air, just like the angel, too far off the earth to pick out the details.…show more content…
Harper represents another character who has a disease tied with her identity, but uses both the illness and the present to grow and positively change for her own well being. Although Harper doesn’t have AIDS like Prior and Roy, she is a drug addict and judged as so. Roy categorizes both drug addicts and gays when he states, “This disease… It afflicts mostly homosexual and drug addicts” (44). AIDS is stigmatized again as something that only gays and drug addicts have, both whom are considered a low, inferior identities. Along with her addiction, she also identifies as an abandoned wife and Mormon, confused with why these pieces of identities conflict. When she first meets Prior, a person she characterizes as just a gay man with AIDS, who doesn’t fit within her version of faith, she also states, “Mormons are not supposed to be addicted to anything. I’m a Mormon” (32). Harper realizes that within her own religion, something she holds close to, her identity shouldn’t even exist. Both pieces of Roy and Louis’s characterizations are in Harper as she idealizes what it means to be a Mormon, and figures out she’s not part it, but also wishes to ignore both her addiction and mental illness to feel stable in her faith. Harper states later in a conversation with Joe, that “God won’t talk to me. I have to make up people to talk to me” (40). Her lack of tolerance for herself in religion, reflecting the
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