Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Act 5, Scene 5

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Act 5, Scene 5

  • We're back in Heaven.
  • A voice (the same from the beginning of the play) declares that we're in the "Hall of he Continental Principalities" (5.5.2).
  • The voice goes on to say that there are six of seven angels at this meeting of the Emergency Council. The angels all represent a different part of the world: Antarctica, Asiatica, Europa, Oceania, Africanii, and Australia.
  • The heavenly beings sit at a table covered with a really old map of the world. The table is full of old stuff, like newspapers, clay tablets, quill pens, and astrological equipment.
  • The angels are gathered around a really old 1940s-style radio. The radio is reporting about the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl. It sounds terrible. Some of the angels feel bad, but Antarctica thinks people deserve it for abusing the earth.
  • The angel of America shows up with Prior.
  • Prior demands they take the book back. He argues that it's impossible for humanity to stop progressing. Migration is just part of what living things have to do.
  • He adds that they should stop waiting around for God to return, because he's not coming back. He also thinks they ought to sue God for abandonment.
  • The angel Oceana notes that Prior wants to go on living. They try to convince him otherwise, saying the world is in for lots of terrible things in the future.
  • Prior doesn't care. "I want more life," he says and asks them to bless him (5.5.57).
  • As he walks away, the angels make a mystical sign as if to bless him.
  • Before exiting, Prior gives them some parting advice: "And if He returns, take Him to Court. He walked out on us. He ought to pay" (5.5.58).

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