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Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika


by Tony Kushner

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika 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, and one of the most powerful examinations of what it means to be gay in America. 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. In Perestroika, we also delve into the sexual frustrations of the play's two major straight female characters. We also get many a lecture on the sexuality of angels. This ain't your granny's Sunday school lesson.

Questions About Sexuality and Sexual Identity

  1. How does the play depict the place of gay men in society?
  2. In what ways does Joe's relationship with his sexuality change over the course of the play?
  3. What is Hannah's relationship with sex? Harper's?
  4. The play depicts the angels as highly sexed hermaphrodites. What larger symbolic meaning might this depiction have?
  5. Do you think Hannah is homophobic? If so, why does she hit it off with Prior? If not, why does she react so badly when Joe comes out of the closet?

Chew on This

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

Angels in America depicts the struggles of gay men to integrate into a society that doesn't accept them.

The play shows the damage that's done to the lives of both straights and gays when gays feel forced to hide their sexuality.

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