Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Sexuality and Sexual Identity

By Tony Kushner

Sexuality and Sexual Identity

Prior: I am drenched in spooj. [...] Cum. Jiz. Ejaculate. I've had a wet dream. (1.4.5-7)

This is Prior waking up from his dream/vision of the angel. For some reason, this angel almost always gives him an erection. This heavenly creature has intense sexual power over human beings. Later in the play, we learn that the angel's fierce sexuality is responsible, in part, for the creation of the universe.

Belize: Guess who just checked in with the troubles? The Killer Queen Herself. New York's number one closeted queer. (1.4.56)

When Roy checks into the hospital, Belize's reaction makes it clear that Roy's homosexuality isn't as top secret as Roy might think it is. Though he has done his best to hide his sexuality from the world, it seems like everybody knows – or at least many in the gay community.

Roy (very nasty): You're a butterfingers spook faggot nurse. I think... you have little reason to want to help me.
Belize: Consider it solidarity. One faggot to another. (1.5.49-50)

After Belize graciously gives Roy some medical advice, Roy repays him by spewing a string of offensive epithets at him. A few lines before this Belize winks at Roy, recognizing the fact that they're both gay. We have a feeling this is exactly what sets Roy off here. Even though it's totally obvious to everyone that Roy is gay, he refuses to acknowledge it, or identify in any way with other gay men.

Louis: Let's stop talking. Or if you have to talk, talk dirty. (1.6.46)

With this line, Louis and Joe begin their sexual relationship. It's a really big step for Joe, who has been wrestling with his sexual feelings for men for his entire life.

Prior: That ludicrous spectacle in there, just a parody of the funeral of someone who <em>really</em> counted. We don't; faggots; we're just a bad dream the world is having, and the real world's waking up. And he's <em>dead</em>. (2.1.4).

After a flamboyant funeral for a flamboyant drag queen, Prior is pretty gloomy about the place of gays in society. Here he recognizes the fact that they are often ridiculed and treated as second-class citizens.

Belize: You f***ed this angel?
Prior: She f***ed me. She has... well, she has eight vaginas.
Angel: REGINA VAGINA
Hermaphroditically Equipped as well with a Bouquet of Phalli... (2.2.57-59)

So it looks like angels are all hermaphrodites in the world of <em>Angels in America</em>. Having both male and female sex organs, they identify as neither male nor female. We wonder, then, why the angel is exclusively played by a female actress?

Harper: I miss his penis.
Hannah: And I'm sure you'll understand if I don't feel comfortable discussing that. (3.1.12)

Okay, this is pretty funny. Not really the kind of conversation that Hannah wants to have with her daughter-in-law. More importantly, though, it shows Harper's sexual frustration.

Harper: When we have sex. Why do you have your eyes closed? [...] You imagine things. Imagine men.
Joe: Yes. (4.7.2-6)

Joe has come a long way since the beginning of <em>Millennium Approaches</em>. He now openly admits to his wife that he isn't attracted to her, or women in general. Of course, it's probably not the best thing to tell your wife when you're trying to get back together with her. This sad little scene is the last straw for Harper, who slaps Joe, takes his credit card, and heads to San Francisco.

Stage Directions: <em>Hannah kneels. The angel kisses her on the forehead and then on the lips – a long, hot kiss.</em>
Angel: The Body is the Garden of the Soul.
Stage Directions: <em>Hannah has an enormous orgasm, as the angel flies away to the accompanying glissando of a baroque piccolo trumpet. </em>(5.2.28-30)

Looks like Prior isn't the only one who gets <em>touched by angel </em>(sorry, we couldn't help ourselves). Here's a devout Mormon who's been pretty tightly wound for most of her life. Now an angel comes and provides her the ultimate release.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...