Angels in America

Angels in America

Angels in America Perestroika: Act 5, Scene 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This scene takes place in Heaven—Prior, now dressed in 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 and dusty streets.
Seeing Heaven in all its decay reminds us how urgent the Angel’s mission is: humanity must stop moving soon, or the Angels will die. This Heaven also echoes Belize’s description, however, suggesting that the new “Heaven” is for humans, not angels.
Themes
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
As Prior walks through Heaven, he sees Harper, playing with Little Sheba, the cat Prior lost in Part One. Harper greets Prior and asks Prior if she’s dead from overdosing on Valium. When Prior doesn’t answer, Harper explains that she loves her life now, despite the fact that her husband has left her. She has a strong urge to move, though she doesn’t know where she would go.
Harper’s brief speech about the importance of life comes at the perfect time—Prior has been experiencing profound doubt about the value of his own life and life in general. Harper’s speech helps Prior remember, and gives him strength to stand up to the angels.
Themes
Homosexuality in the AIDS Era Theme Icon
The Clash between People and Principles Theme Icon
Prior points out the scenery, comparing it with San Francisco. The real San Francisco, he tells Harper, is far lovelier. Harper says that she’d like to see it.
For not the first time in the play, Prior and Harper have a profound conversation during a dream—a conversation that will influence how Harper and Prior behave in real life, too.
Themes
Fantasy, Escape, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Suddenly, the scenery fades—Prior is standing in a large room, facing the Angel of America, who greets him as a prophet.
The scene is set for a big confrontation between Prior and the Angel.
Themes
Prophets and Prophecies Theme Icon
Fantasy, Escape, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Get the entire Angels in America LitChart as a printable PDF.
Angels in america.pdf.medium