A play by Tony Kushner of the angels in America is often figurative and in times assessment of HIV/ AIDS and homosexuality in the American soil in the 1980s. Most of the actors in the play are supernatural beings or dead people (ghosts). Different characters are given multiple roles first and primarily concentrating on the married homosexuals in Manhattan. The play has also borrowed much from the Tennessee William’ss streetcar named desire, where some characters share similar roles or take similar characteristics. This essay explores how the play of angels of America relates to the Streetcar Named Desire. It is evident that Angels in America has borrowed from William’ss play, which helps us to understand the Prior and Belize characters. Understanding the relationship between these two novels helps to relate Blanche and Stella’ss story to that of Prior and Belize.
First, it can be argued that the relationship between Prior and Belize is a mirror of that of Blanche and Stella. Tony’ss Angels in America, parts of the Streetcar strengthened by the knowledge that the world dominated by the AIDS influences the potential for camp inspiration (Kushner p. 10). For instance, Belize, in section one, cross-checks Prior in the hospital making fun of him of how he looked terrible. In part two, Prior, even in a more critical condition tells a stranger who helps him that he has always depended on the help of the strangers where Hannah responds that it is a stupid thing to do to still depend on strangers. In the same way, Blanche in the Streetcar moves to a small town to live with a family member, Stella. She has nowhere to go, and therefore she must depend on strangers. In one of the poker games with Stanley’ss friend Mitch, Stanley turns violent and hits Stella, who is forced to hide in their neighbor’s house upstairs. However, their relationship is stronger than their quarrel, and they seem fine after Stanley becomes sober (Fisher p. 13).
However, in the angels in America, Belize and Prior are best friends. After being abandoned by Louis because of AIDS Prior becomes a prophet after an encounter with an angel of God (Kushner p. 45). And like Blanche, Prior also lives a life of delusion and rejection. He rejects his prophetic office and requires an additional life as a gift. Prior is revealed as decent and ethical, and even though the illness victimizes and weakens him, he manages to go beyond that mere victimhood, transcending and becoming the point of a new, ideal society at the climax of the play. Belize, just like Blanche feels like his life is hidden from the rest of the people. He is also ethical and full of forgiveness. Therefore, comparing these two plays, it is evident that there is a difference in the mentioned actors the characters in the angels in America are shown as ethical, who ultimately have humanity and hold humanity at a higher degree.
Secondly, it is evident that in both plays there is a theme of drug use. Blanche and Prior, which are notable characters in the plays are involved in drug use (Fisher p. 13). Drugs and substance use in Streetcar named desire are used as an escape, and Blanche is seen taking alcohol to distract herself from what is happening around her. Blanche also uses alcohol to get into the world of imaginations and fantasies and wisely forced artifice. However, due to women reputation in the 1940s when the play is set, Blanche’ss drinking usually is hidden and masked. However, in the Angels in America, the drugs that Prior uses are useful, and they give her life. The drug, AZT, is rumored as a drug that can save people living with AIDS by staving off the impact of an emaciated immune system. This medicine seems to be working perfectly well for Prior, and it is able to sustain his life. These two characters are portrayed to be drug users, but it is apparent that they use them for different purposes. While Blanche uses the alcohol to run from reality, Prior uses the AZT for survival.
Third, the two stories show thriving of romantic relationships as well as heartbreaks. Stella and Belize can be said to be in happy relationships, but Blanche and Prior have been heartbroken by love (Fisher p. 13). Blanche moves to live with Stella because there is no other place she can live after parting with her lover. Prior also admits that he only gets help from strangers, after been left by Louis, his love, after he learns that he has contracted AIDS. Therefore, this statement makes much sense on the common ground for these plays. Whereas Stella and Belize are in thriving relationships, Blanche and Priori are mourning the heartbreak from their loved ones.
In brief, it is clear that there is a common ground on which the plays of Angels in America and Streetcar Named Desire especially on the characters of Belize and Prior in the former and Blanche and Stella in the latter play. This paper has explored various contrasting traits of these four actors, and it comes up with a conclusion that the thesis that there are thriving relationships as well as breakups remains outstanding. Therefore, it is noteworthy that Stella and Belize are in happy relationships, while Blanche and Prior are nursing heartbreaks.
Fisher, James. “The Angels of Fructification”: Tennessee Williams, Tony Kushner, and images of homosexuality on the American stage.” Mississipi Quarterly (1995): 13. Article.Kushner, Tony. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Revised and Complete Edition. [sic]: Theatre Communications Group, 2014. Print.