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Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches

by Tony Kushner

Politics Theme

There's no shortage of political talk going on in Angels in America. Conservative and liberal characters alike get their moment to spout their political beliefs. Kushner himself is a well-known socialist, and there's no doubt that his views on what he calls "economic justice" definitely seep into his plays (source). While it seems pretty clear that the play favors the political ideologies of its left-wing characters, Angels never seems to degenerate into political propaganda. Perhaps this is because all Kushner's characters – left, right, and in-between – are complex and humanely drawn. In the end, however, the ultimate political message of the play is to be a progressive one: even if it hurts, the play tells us, we must move forward.

Questions About Politics

  1. Which characters are aligned with the political right? The left? Are any in-between? How do they express their views?
  2. Do you see any differences between Roy and Joe's approach to conservatism? If so, what are they?
  3. If you had to come up with a definition of "progressivism" using the ideas from this play, what would it be? How would each of the characters feel about the term? Why would they feel that way?
  4. Compare and contrast Louis' political views with Belize's.

Chew on This

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

The characters of Angels in America are largely defined by their politics. Each has a distinct place on the political spectrum, which influences his personality and actions throughout the play.

Angels in America has characters from the extremes of liberal and conservative America. Though highlighting the differences of the two sides, it also displays the human strengths, weaknesses, and desires that connect them.

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