Angels in America

Angels in America

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Angels in America Characters

Prior Walter

Arguably the protagonist of Angels in America, Prior Walter is a young homosexual man who contracts the AIDS virus. As his condition deteriorates, Prior faces a series of external and internal challenges. Prior’s boyfriend… (read full character analysis)

Louis Ironson

A young, intelligent homosexual man, and the grandson of Sarah Ironson. Louis struggles with his feelings for his boyfriend, Prior Walter, throughout the play. Louis has been living with Prior for years, but… (read full character analysis)

Joe Pitt

Joe Pitt is another character who could be considered the protagonist of Angels in America. As the play begins, Joe is a successful law clerk, mentored by the legendary conservative attorney Roy Cohn(read full character analysis)

Harper Pitt

Joe Pitt’s wife, Harper Pitt, is a mentally unstable woman who, thanks largely to her ingestion of large amounts of Valium, has vivid hallucinations. And yet because this is a Tony Kushner play, Harper’s… (read full character analysis)

Roy Cohn

Roy Cohn, both a character in the play and a real-life attorney and political figure, is an elderly lawyer and a mentor to Joe Pitt. Cohn has made his career on smearing his political… (read full character analysis)
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Belize / Norman Ariago

Belize is an openly gay black man who is fond of transvestism (dressing as a woman), and who also works as a nurse at the hospital where Roy Cohn spends his final days. Belize is… (read full character analysis)

The Angel of America

The Angel of America is the symbol of all that is fantastic, imaginative, and otherworldly in Angels in America—in other words, most of the play. The Angel—a hermaphrodite, but for the purpose of this… (read full character analysis)

Hannah Pitt

Joe Pitt’s mother, Hannah Pitt is a devoutly Mormon woman, disliked by many of her neighbors and friends, who moves to New York City after Joe comes out to her as gay. Hannah doesn’t… (read full character analysis)

Ethel Rosenberg

A real-life Soviet spy who in the 1950s was convicted for treason, along with her husband, Julius Rosenberg, and sentenced to death by electrocution. Ethel Rosenberg is often considered a symbol for the barbarism of… (read full character analysis)

Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov

An elderly Bolshevik who appears at the beginning of Part Two to ask what will succeed the Soviet Union. His name is a play on words, as “antediluvian” means “before the flood” (usually the Biblical… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
The Stranger
A man with whom Louis Ironson attempts to have rough sex in Central Park after he abandons Prior Walter. (Kushner specifies that this character is to be played by the same actor who plays Prior, suggesting just how futile Louis’s attempt to “escape” Prior is.)
Mr. Lies
The “imaginary friend” of Hannah Pitt, who leads her into a make-believe world whenever she’s upset with her life with Joe Pitt. (Kushner specifies that this character is to be played by the same actor who plays Belize.)
Prior Walter’s nurse. (Kushner specifies that this character is to be played by the same actor who plays the Angel of America, further complicating the idea of whether or not the Angel is just a hallucination.)
Rabbi Isador Chemelwitz
A Jewish Rabbi who presides over Sarah Ironson’s funeral, and later fails to give Louis Ironson advice.
Roy Cohn’s doctor.
Martin Heller
A powerful political colleague of Roy Cohn.
Sister Ella Chapter
A Mormon woman who helps Hannah Pitt sell her house in Utah.
Prior I
A distant ancestor of Prior Walter.
Prior II
A distant ancestor of Prior Walter.
Mormon Mother
A figure in a diorama at the Mormon Visitors’ Center in Manhattan, who comes alive in one of Harper Pitt’s hallucinations and gives her advice about Joe Pitt and God.
Sarah Ironson
The grandmother of Louis Ironson, whose death from old age marks the beginning of the play.
Ronald Reagan
The 40th President of the United States, an icon of the Republican Party, and a symbol for the heightening conservatism and—according to some—bigotry of the 1980s.
Colonel Oliver North
An American colonel convicted of treason (probably as a “fall-guy”) after the Iran Contra Affair, during which the Reagan administration sold weapons to American enemies in Iran in order to finance a war in Nicaragua. The Iran Contra Affair is considered to represent the secret corruption of the era.
The Homeless Woman
A seemingly-insane woman who talks to Hannah Pitt when she first arrives in New York, and directs her to the Mormon Visitors’ Center.