Struggle is a common factor in The Angels in America, whether it comes in the form of being a minority, power struggles or even a disease crisis. Throughout this play, there are funerals, broken relationships, identity struggles and dealing with certain death. The play covers the personal lives of multiple characters that have vastly different views and ways of life but is all connected through different aspects of every person’s life and journey as they progress.
The important factor of this play is the time it’s based in, the 80s was difficult for many minorities that differed from the “social norm” or religion. The 80s was a time when unless you were straight, white, and male you didn’t have power or respect in the workplace, so when someone from the queer community had to live in that society how can they feel accepted. The AIDs epidemic was a thing of mass panic, a disease that at the time felt like it could end the world; But who did the media blame it on, the already hated gay community. AIDs was portrayed as a disease that only was spread in the gay community and not what it really was and could be spread by anyone. Joe is a character that struggles with religion and his place in the world, as a devoted Christian he later finds out that he himself is homosexual and he consistently struggles with what side he must take. In act 2 scene 8 Joe calls his mother Hannah to tell her he is gay and asks if his father loves him and rather than respond she just says, “Don’t be ridiculous”. It’s easy to see where his families priorities are and that the religious life doesn’t accept the idea of homosexuality and if Joe himself is homophobic he would lose his family.