Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Epilogue

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February 1990

  • Prior, Louis, Belize, and Hannah all sit on the rim of the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.
  • Prior now wears thick glasses and walks with a cane.
  • Hannah is dressed like a New Yorker and reading the New York Times.
  • Belize and Louis are arguing about Gorbachev,9171,988168,00.html. Louis thinks he's awesome; Belize isn't so sure.
  • Louis says Gorbachev is brilliant for having instituted the policy of Perestroika, reorganizing the Soviet economic system. "The world is changing! Overnight," Louis exclaims (Epilogue.4).
  • Hannah wonders what will happen in Yugoslavia now that the Soviet Union is changing so radically.
  • Prior turns the volume down on their political discussion and talks directly to us. He tells us all about how the Bethesda Fountain is his favorite place, describing it with lots of beautiful language.
  • Prior let's us know that it's 1990 and that he's been living with AIDS for five years.
  • We hear Louis talking again. He goes on about how much he admires the Russians for trying something new.
  • Hannah, Belize, and Louis all talk about the nature of progress and human thought.
  • Prior turns down the volume again.
  • He tells us the angel in the fountain is his favorite, adding that he likes angels best when they're statues.
  • Prior calls on Louis to tell the story of the angel Bethesda.
  • Louis tells us that the angel landed in the Temple square in Jerusalem and that fountain sprung up from where her foot touched the ground. When the Romans tore down the temple, though, the fountain of Bethesda ran dry. This was a shame because the water supposedly had healing powers. It's said that when the Millennium comes, the fountain will flow again.
  • Hannah says she will take Prior to bathe in the fountain when it flows again.
  • Louis and Belize start arguing over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Prior gives one last address to the audience.
  • He talks about how the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park is turned off now, because it's winter and the pipes might freeze. He really hopes he'll be around to see it flow again.
  • There's no way to relate the rest of Prior's closing monologue better than he does...
  • "This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won't die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come. Bye now. You are fabulous creatures, each and every one. And I bless you: More Life. The Great Work Begins" (Epilogue.31).

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