Posts Tagged ‘national themes’


We are reaching the end of our scholar year and also of our blogs. This way, it’s with sadness that I tell you that this will be (probably) my last post here and it’ll be about a TV miniseries called “Angels in America”: why this title?

To be brief, I wouldn’t explain the plot itself (you can see it here if you want: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_in_America:_A_Gay_Fantasia_on_National_Themes#Plot ), I’ll just tell you the main theme and also the last scene in order to make a link with the main question (why this title?).

“Angels in America” explores “the state of the nation” in the 80s: the sexual, racial, religious, political and social issues confronting the country during the Reagan years, as the AIDS epidemic spreads, also portraying a wide range of reactions to illness, both by the patients and by those around them.

At the end of the play, we see Prior (a gay man with AIDS), Louis (Prior’s boyfriend at the beginning, but then he abandons him because he was unable to deal with his boyfriend’s disease; later he begins a relationship with Joe), Belize (a former drag queen, he is Prior’s best friend) and Hannah (Joe’s mother; she moved to New York in order to help her son; she finds that Joe has abandoned his wife) sitting on the rim of the fountain in Central Park with the statue of the Bethesda angel*.

They say that when the Millennium came, everyone who was “suffering, in the body or the spirit, [and] walked through the waters of the fountain of Bethesda, would be healed, washed clean of pain.”

*Bethesda angel:

“(Christian Religious Writings / Bible) New Testament a pool in Jerusalem reputed to have healing powers, where a paralytic was healed by Jesus (John 5:2)”


The four characters mentioned above represent Jews and Christians and agnostics; homosexuals and heterosexuals; blacks and whites; men and women; caregivers and patients; two generations > the American mix! Different people, opposites whose destinies collapsed into the fountain with the Bethesda angel statue. When there, we can see that, no matter who they are, they seem competent contributors to the future of the World.

I agree with my colleague Jorge:

“…that allows us to think that, although the 80s were a big era regarding new concepts of life and breaking free of the old mainstream canons along with all of those deadly diseases, there was a sense of hope hovering over the American society – “in America”.”


So the angels represent hope and cure, the cleaning of the soul and body from the pain and they’re in America because of 2 things (in my opinion): all those problems which America was facing in the 80s and the “American dream”, because it’s considered the land where your dreams come true.



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