page 1 of 2
(Act Five is subtitled "Heaven, I'm in Heaven")
Prior wakes Hannah, who is asleep in his hospital room. Prior is certain the Angel is near. A trumpet peals, flaming Hebrew letters writhe on the walls and the Angel appears. Hannah screams. Prior tells the Angel he rejects his prophecy, and t hen he begs the trembling Hannah to tell him what to do. Hannah says he must wrestle the Angel. They wrestle, the Angel trying desperately to escape. Finally, a ladder to Heaven descends from the sky. Hesitantly, Prior ascends the ladder. The Angel turns to Hannah, who is petrified, but instead of hurting her the Angel kisses her passionately, and Hannah experiences a tremendous orgasm.
Heaven resembles San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. Prior encounters Harper playing with Little Sheba, his missing cat. Harper says she is not dead—though she took so much Valium that she thinks she might have overdosed. Prior asks her to stay with him in Heaven, but she tells him that all the devastation in her life has left her feeling more alive than ever. Harper vanishes, and the Angel greets Prior.
Louis arrives in Roy's hospital room. Belize has called him for an emergency—he cannot remove Roy's AZT by himself, so he needs Louis to carry them. He has called Louis, he says, because he needed a Jew—he wants to say the Kaddish , the Jewish prayer for the dead, to thank Roy for the pills. Louis resists, but Belize tells him that forgiveness matters because it is difficult. Louis finally consents, but he does not know the words of the Kaddish. But Ethel prompts him, and they say the prayer together, adding at the end, "You sonofabitch."
Joe returns home to find the ghost of Roy waiting for him. Roy tells him not to feel bad for beating Louis, and then kisses him fondly. Roy vanishes, and Harper enters. She tells him she has been out with a friend, in Paradise.
In a council room in Heaven, the Continental Principalities—six Angels, of whom the Angel of America is the seventh—sit around a table that holds a bulky old radio. They are listening to a report of the disaster at Chernobyl, which will occur in sixty-two days. The Angel called Antarctica says he will rejoice to see it. The others argue about how best to monitor humanity and how to proceed in God's absence. Then, in a thunderclap, the Angel of America appears with Prior. Prior tries to hand ba ck the book, explaining that it is the essence of human life to progress and migrate, to change. He adds that rather than praying for God's return, they should sue God for walking out. Prior says he wants to live and for the plague to end. But the Angels do not know how to stop it. Despite their warnings of the terrors to come in the future, he demands that they bless him with "more life." As Prior turns to leave, the Angels make a mystical sign over him.
Take a Study Break!