Angels in America

Angels in America

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Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov Character Analysis

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 Flood of Noah) and “prelapsarian” means “before the fall” (before the Biblical Fall of Man). Both these ideas relate to some event that drastically changes the course of human history, and from which society must rebuild itself.

Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov Quotes in Angels in America

The Angels in America quotes below are all either spoken by Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov or refer to Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Homosexuality in the AIDS Era Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Theatre Communications Group edition of Angels in America published in 2013.
Perestroika: Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

The Great Question before us is: Can we Change? In Time? And we all desire that Change will come.

Related Characters: Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov (speaker)
Related Symbols: Perestroika, Funerals
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:

At the beginning of Part II of the play, we're introduced to a strange, comical figure, Aleksii Altedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov, who presides over the Kremlin in Moscow. In an ironic call-back to the opening scene of the play, Aleksii seems to be organizing a funeral--but this funeral is for the Soviet Union, not an individual person. By the late 1980s, it was clear to many that the Soviet Union was on its last legs: after decades of instability, it was finally going under.

What, we might well ask, does the collapse of the Soviet Union have to do with Kushner's play--a play about the AIDS crisis, the Reagan Administration, and the state of modern America? Without ever saying so explicitly, Kushner suggests that the collapse of the Soviet Union--just like the other major historical events of his play--was greeted as an opportunity for grand, historical change. For decades, the Soviet Union--a country founded on left-wing values--had been a rallying point for leftists in the United States, but after the 1950s, when news of the country's brutality became widely known, the left in America stopped praising Russia. With the collapse of the U.S.S.R., the question on everybody's mind was--what will become of left-wing values in the world?

In short, the opening scene of the play establishes a sense of uncertainty, both for the world and for liberals in particular. As millennium approaches, the characters in the play sense that a great change is coming--but nobody can agree on what this change will look like.


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Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov Character Timeline in Angels in America

The timeline below shows where the character Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov appears in Angels in America. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Perestroika: Act 1, Scene 1
Homosexuality in the AIDS Era Theme Icon
Prophets and Prophecies Theme Icon
Progressivism, Conservatism, and Change Theme Icon
Fantasy, Escape, and Tragedy Theme Icon
The Clash between People and Principles Theme Icon
...a podium. There is a huge red flag behind him. The man introduces himself as Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov , the World’s Oldest Bolshevik. Aleksii admits that Communism is coming to an end—it’s dying... (full context)