Hallucination And Reason In Tony Kushner's Angels In America

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Hallucinations and Reason in Angels in America In Tony Kushner’s celebrated play, Angels in America, he addresses a modern social issue through a magical realist narrative. His invocation of magical realist elements into the ordinary, such as Angels and paralleled hallucinations, allows the reader to observe the dynamics shared between characters that would otherwise be unassociated with one another. During the mid 1980’s an increased presence of the gay community in mainstream society was poorly timed with the outbreak of AIDS, drawing many to come to the conclusion that the gay community was the sole contributor of the problem. The play serves as a response to this time in America. A conservative regime controlled the government, contrasting…show more content…
No character experiences hallucinations until they have had a loss. “It was after Louis left me. Every night I’d been having these horrible vivid dreams [of the angel].” (Kushner 169) The response to the hallucinations is a response to the problem. Abandonment is paralleled by Kushner to a loss in not just the individual in the story, but to what he believes is a greater problem in society. Most importantly is his contrast of the characters Roy and Prior. Both of their hallucinations represent something they initially interpret as an authentication of what they desire. Roy envisions Ethel Rosenberg, a testament to his success as a lawyer and a representation of the ruthlessness he commands in the courtroom. While Prior envisions an Angel, and despite his initial fear, is a symbol of hope and promise for what he believes is a deteriorating overly conservative American society. Yet both discover as the story continues that neither hallucination is there to appease their egos. Ethel stands and mocks Roy, quickly arriving at his death bed to remind him before he dies that he is no longer a lawyer, thus removing his identity to be a part of “the only club [Roy] ever wanted to belong to.”(Kushner 221) And the Angels arrive to tell Prior to stop “progress” (Kushner 176) and that it has forced God to leave heaven. Prior’s

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