Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*New York City

*New York City. This play uses many real locations in and around New York City, such as the East Village, the Lower East Side, the South Bronx, and Brooklyn Heights. However, the most important of these exterior settings is Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, a large fountain with a statue called the Bethesda Angel. It is a place around which New Yorkers like to relax, talk, and play music. This final setting of the play suggests that spiritual forces have aligned themselves to produce a new lease on life for him.

The other important New York venue is one that is interior, namely the hospital or sickrooms of two men suffering from AIDS. One room is that of Prior Walter, the other is Roy Cohn’s. Both rooms are often transformed, however, into spaces for hallucinations and visions, especially the appearance of an august, opalescent, winged angel who crashes into Prior’s room to declare him a prophet and charge him with a great mission.

Other worlds

Other worlds. These include an imaginary Antarctica, supernatural levels of reality, and various versions of the Afterworld, ranging from a bleak hell to a gathering place for worried angels heavily invested in the outcome of life on earth.

*Salt Lake City

*Salt Lake City. Capital of Utah and headquarters of the Mormon church, this venue and the characters in the play who come from there suggest a mainstream midwestern conservative perspective.