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Themes

As you might guess from the title, <em>Angels in America</em> deals quite a bit with the theme of spirituality. Joe wrestles with the precepts of his Mormon faith, and the play is filled with references to Judaism. It begins with a traditional Jewish funeral, for example. Much of the Jewish motif that runs through the play isn't exactly mainstream Judaism. Much of it seems drawn from Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism. Throughout, there are many references to figures found in scripture – Cain, Jacob, Lazarus, Judas, and, God himself, to name a few. When the angel comes crashing through Prior's ceiling at the end of the first part of the play, the theme of spirituality is brought to a thundering climax.

Questions About Spirituality

  1. What are the different religious beliefs mentioned in the play? What is their significance?
  2. Are all the spiritual belief systems in the play represented fairly? Explain.
  3. How do the characters interact with the spiritual world? Are they afraid or accepting of it?
  4. How do the ghosts in the play connect to the play's theme of spirituality?

Chew on This

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

The spiritual world created in the play provides Kushner a platform to discuss not only the mysteries of America, but also the mysteries of the universe.

Angels in America presents a world in which everyone abandons his or her faith, a world more full of doubt and sadness than divine grace.

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