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 summary, a “she”—appears before Prior Walter shortly after Prior is diagnosed with AIDS, suggesting that the Angel may not, in fact, be real, but only a hallucination Prior is experiencing. Nevertheless, as the play continues, the Angel shows up to frequently, and speaks with such a unique voice, that we have no choice but to regard her as a character in the play—independent, complex, and real. It is the Angel who tells Prior that Heaven is in a state of disarray, thanks to God’s preference for human beings. The Angel, jealous of humanity for distracting God from her fellow angels, wants Prior to spread the message “Stop moving” around the world. In other words, she wants to compel human beings to stop being human. While the Angel doesn’t seem to like human beings much, she also seems sympathetic to Prior’s AIDS, and—it’s suggested—saves Prior’s life by blessing him with health and life.
The Angel of America Quotes in Angels in America
The Angels in America quotes below are all either spoken by The Angel of America or refer to The Angel of America . 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: Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Theatre Communications Group edition of Angels in America published in 2013.).
Millennium Approaches: Act 3, Scene 7 Quotes
The Great Work begins:
The Messenger has arrived.
Perestroika: Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes
Bored with His Angels, Bewitched by Humanity, In Mortifying imitation of You, his least creation, He would sail off on Voyages, no knowing where.
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Explanation and Analysis:
The Angel of America Character Timeline in Angels in America
The timeline below shows where the character The Angel of America appears in Angels in America. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Millennium Approaches: Act 3, Scene 7
Perestroika: Act 1, Scene 1
Perestroika: Act 1, Scene 5
Perestroika: Act 2, Scene 1
Perestroika: Act 2, Scene 2
...tells Prior that he’s frightened for Prior: he’s not thinking clearly. Belize also disagrees with the Angel ’s prophecy, noting “Some of us didn’t choose to migrate.” Prior admits that Belize is... (full context)
Perestroika: Act 5, Scene 1
...night. Prior wakes up to find Hannah sitting next to him. Prior tells Hannah that the Angel of America is nearby. There are loud noises, and suddenly, the ceiling breaks open. Hannah... (full context)
Perestroika: Act 5, Scene 2
...brightly colored robes, has climbed the ladder. Heaven looks a lot like San Francisco, as the Angel has suggested previously, but it’s San Francisco immediately after the 1906 earthquake, with decayed buildings... (full context)
Perestroika: Act 5, Scene 5