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Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches
Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches
by Tony Kushner
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Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Theme of Sexuality and Sexual Identity

It's pretty safe to say that Angels in America is one of the most famous plays to explore the topic of homosexuality. All of the major male characters in the play are gay. They run the gamut from the deeply in the closet to proudly and openly gay. The character who goes through the biggest struggle with his sexual identity is Joe Pitt, a conservative Mormon who was taught that homosexuality is a sin and has always wrestled with the way he feels inside. By the end of Millennium Approaches, he comes out to both his mother and his wife. Angels is full of such poignant and compassionate portrayals and remains one of the most powerful examinations of what it means to be gay in America.

Questions About Sexuality and Sexual Identity

  1. Do the sexual identities of Joe and Roy conflict with their conservative belief systems? If so, how does each character confront that conflict? If not, how does each character make his sexual desire for men fit his lifestyle?
  2. It's mentioned in the play that Louis sometimes tries to hide his sexual identity in public situations. How is the idea of being ashamed of homosexuality approached in the play?
  3. How does the play portray gay characters? Are straight characters as well-rounded as gay ones? Why or why not?

Chew on This

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

The many angles from which sexuality is approached in Angels in America allow the reader or viewer to better understand how physical desire can shape a person's life experience.

The message of Angels in America is weakened by only presenting gay male characters, instead of including some lesbian women as well.

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