Exploring Spirituality in Angels in America Essay

1459 Words May 31st, 2012 6 Pages
It’s the late 1980’s, the age of exciting new technology and uncompromising prosperity. A golden time when all is easily attainable in life and nothing is off limits; fast track careers, an abundance of wealth and new expressions of sexual experimentation. It is certainly a time when religion appear to have taken a back seat in the lives of so many young up and coming professionals. In his play, Angels in America, Tony Kushner uses religious imagery and biblical references to help his characters find meaning in modern America as well as a means for convincing the audience that prophecy is possible in secular times and to help illustrate the age-old struggle between religious morals and sexuality in the twenty-first century. Tony …show more content…
While Prior is openly gay and one of the few characters in this play who is at peace with their sexuality, he is very much an outcast due to his contracting a little known disease, AIDS. This frightening disease was not openly talked about and at the time was seen exclusively as a problem in the gay community. If this fate was not enough for Prior to handle, he was now dealing with being chosen as a prophet by angels who speak to him in Hebrew; Kushner’s way of conveying spirituality. The idea of speaking Hebrew is also very significant to the idea of modern spirituality. Throughout the play there are several examples of Hebrew as divine inspiration. When Prior has his first vision he is visited by two of his ancestors who announce the impending arrival of the angel. Although Prior’s family has long been of Christian faith, (it is mentioned that they even came over on the Mayflower) strangely his deceased ancestors chose to speak to him in Hebrew. Another example is when Prior is in the hospital and imagines his nurse, Emily, speaks to him in Hebrew: EMILY: Es nishmas Prior sheholoch leolomoh, baavur shenodvoo z’dokoh b’ad hazkoras nishmosoh. PRIOR: …weren’t you just speaking in Hebrew or something? EMILY: Hebrew? I’m basically Italian-American. No. I didn’t speak Hebrew. (III.ii)
Kushner uses these instances to emphasis that

Related Documents