© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches


by Tony Kushner

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Theme of Betrayal

There are many betrayals throughout Angels in America. Louis betrays his lover, Prior, by deserting him at a time of need. Roy feels betrayed when Joe refuses to take a job he's arranged for him in Washington, DC. Of course Joe might very well feel betrayed when he learns that Roy wants him to take the job for his own selfish reasons. And then there's Harper, who feels betrayed when her husband, Joe, admits that he's gay. Very often throughout the play we are left asking, "Which is worse: betraying another or betraying yourself?"

Questions About Betrayal

  1. Can you betray someone and still love him or her? Explain your answer in relation to the play.
  2. Betrayal comes in many forms. What are some examples in the play of someone betraying a concept (like religion or history) rather than another person?
  3. What person or idea in the play is stabbed in the back the deepest? Explain your choice.
  4. Is there a person or idea in the play that is betrayed but really deserves it? Discuss your reasoning.

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Fear is an emotion all characters in Angels in America share, and it is always fear that drives them to betray those whom they love.

Betrayal is not always a bad thing. Throughout the play characters turn their backs on ideas that have made their lives unhappy.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...