By: Jennifer Grzybowski
Upon reading Angels In America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, Tony Kushner’s use of character Louis Ironson is provoking to say the least. Many debaters beg to argue that he is the true protagonist of the tales. Louis Ironson not only resembles the playwright himself, but also has the strongest political voice in the play thus making him a catalyst for the meaning of the play!
It is easy to discern Louis as, a somewhat skewed, image of Kushner himself. He is a progressive minded New Yorker of Jewish faith. Also, looking into his dialogue illustrates a rambling prose style not unlike the own playwright’s. Perhaps it is Kushner’s closeness to the character that allows him to craft such a dynamic being, “He is definitely flawed and cowardly, but his traits are drawn with such care and detail that we at least understand why he does what he does. Louis might make you wonder, “What would I do in his situation?” (Louis Ironson, Character Analysis, Criminal) However, it is undisputable that Louis has the strongest political voice. You need only look at the sheer volume of lines regarding politics to discover this fact. “He loves to talk about his leftist views, at great length. None of the right-wing characters like Joe, Roy, or Henry get nearly as much time as Louis to ramble on about their political views. This play is often called a political drama with a progressive message, and Louis is a big reason why this label fits.” (LICAC) Through these lines of Louis, we are able to discern true meaning and themes the playwright wanted to express. For example, take his large monologue in his scene with Belise. In said scene, he expresses an idea that America is shifting gradually in power to the people. He further stipulates that it doesn’t matter how much effort the right side puts in, the country will steadily progress towards equality.
Looking at the specific character arch and path of Louis Ironson, we see the thoughts of the playwright. It is clear that Louis emulates Kushner himself, but also holds the meaning and key viewpoints of this story- the viewpoints being expressed through the funnel of this play. For this reason, I argue that Louis Ironman is, indeed, the protagonist.
Bradford, Wade. “’Angels In America’ By: Tony Kushner” About. 2013. Web. http://plays.about.com/od/plays/a/Angels-In-America-By-Tony-Kushner.htm
6 December 2013.
“Angels In America Analysis of Major Characters.” Sparknotes. 2013. Web. http://www.sparknotes.com/drama/angels/canalysis.html#Louis-Ironson
25 November 2013.
“Louis Ironson Character Analysis Criminal.” Shmoop University, Inc. Web. http://www.shmoop.com/angels-in-america-part-1/louis-ironson.html
5 December 2013.