Essay on Tony Kushner 's ' Angels '

1960 Words 8 Pages
In Angels in America, Tony Kushner’s characters suffer through loss of health, life, and love. Colossal suffering and grief eventually lead to discovery and growth. The main quartet of characters – Louis Ironson, Prior Walter, Joe and Harper Pitt– have many differences, but, aside from their grief, a common characteristic allows for their conjoined relevancy. Each is a member of a group that is somehow marginalized in their society, whether it stems from their sexuality, illness, or personal identity.
Kushner’s subtitle (A Gay Fantasia on National Themes) of the two-part play can be interpreted as speaking to its fantastic elements, like the presence of Prior’s angels and spirits from the past. However, “fantasia” can also be defined as “a musical composition with a free form and often an improvisatory style” that is “composed of many different forms.” When applying this lens to the pages of the play, the strings of the inherent musicality of the characters’ interactions are strung. In musical theory, the root of a chord is the note that bases the chord and around which the particular sound of it is named. In Angels, the root is the suffering and eventual discovery of the characters in their respective worlds, and each character has the tuned ear to play their heartbreak accordingly. Much like a symphony, each of the main quartet plays a different part, or instrument. Separating the characters would ruin Kushner’s carefully constructed orchestra.
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