Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Abandonment

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<em>Perestroika</em> takes the theme of abandonment and goes to town with it. We watch as those who were abandoned in <em>Millennium Approaches</em> turn the tables on their abandoners, rejecting the deserters' attempts to come back. The abandoned grow strong over the course of the play, finding strength in their isolation. <em>Perestroika</em> also takes the theme of abandonment to the cosmic level: we learn that the entire human race, plus the angels in Heaven, have all been abandoned by God. One of the things that makes <em>Angels in America</em> so brilliant is the way the play manages to simultaneously explore the same themes on an interpersonal, political, and cosmic level.

Questions About Abandonment

  1. According to the angel, why did God abandon the universe?
  2. Ultimately, is Joe's abandonment of Harper a good or bad thing for both of them? Why do you think so?
  3. In what ways does the play link conservative ideology to the theme of abandonment?
  4. If you were Prior, would you ever forgive Louis for abandoning you in such a time of need? Why or why not?
  5. Think about Joe and Louis, the two abandoners in the play. Why is it that Joe ends up deserted and alone, whereas Louis ends up surrounded by friends?

Chew on This

Prior longs for some kind of universal justice system that punishes those who abandon others, but no such system exists.

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