Top critical review
Angels in America: The Infinite Journey
on 24 February 1999
Tony Kushner addresses several controversial topics namely homosexuality, politics, and religion in Angels in America. However, the most important theme of the play reaches beyond those topics. Kushner places emphasis on issues, such as discrimination and corruption, yet I found greater meaning in the play when I looked past those issues that Kushner raised.
Kushner depicts America as a country that focuses on images based on stereotypes and preconceived ideas that often have little experiential founding. Americans use those images as a framework for dealing with their everyday activities and encounters. This idea is not that shocking if you assume that Kushner means that Americans impose those images upon other people. Although he does portray that meaning, Kushner takes the imposition of those images a step further by showing through his characters that individuals also have stereotypes and preconceived ideas that they inflict upon themselves. While everyone needs an image of him or her self in order to function, they deny a part of themselves by embracing that image. Kushner shows how life is about struggling with the image we have of ourselves in order to have richer and more fulfilling experiences. We are constantly discovering aspects of the images that we have of ourselves that are false as well as becoming comfortable with those aspects that we find are true. The character Prior reveals that this process of self-discovery is an infinite journey on which people thrive. The journey may be full of pain and tragedy, but it also bears the fruit of revelation and understanding. For me, this lesson about humanity is what makes the play a respectable and praiseworthy piece of work.