Glengary Glenn Ross is a dense, throttling work in which the lead characters - day-to-day salesmen at a real estate firm - take on the role of career-hungry hatchet men whose primary goal is to sell, sell, sell at whatever cost, for the word 'No' does not exist in the global lexicon. The characters: Roma, Williamson, Levene, Moss and Aaronow, must mark their territory, must carve their niche in the rigorous business world, must clasp on to, in sheer desperation, their paltry slice of the American pie, for if they do not, others will not hesitate to use their cunning deceit and quenchless greed to take that opportunity which others are reluctant to take. One would believe that Mr. Mamet wrote this play to showcase to his readers and audience the avariciousness, hypocrisy, indifference and duplicity that seemed to be an inherent characteristic of the corporate business person and booming yuppie generation of the eighties. But this play can not be pigeonholed as a representation of a single decade, for the corporate mentality can not be boxed in. It can and will expand, but to the dismay of many, it can't be stopped, because if it does, only economic and social horror will arise. For some individuals in this line of work, it is a Catch-22. David Mamet elucidates the Catch-22 factor very palpably in this play. In one sense, to be reasonably prosperous in business, you have to be tough and occasionally rotten to the core. If you are, success may come in your direction. On the other hand, if you are kind and a sort of middle man or below that in respects to leadership qualities, the attainment of wealth and success might as well be nil. There is no middle ground; the characters are either one or the other, and God help the person who does not have the thick skin to survive emotionally in business. It is hard to keep moving on with something when (the characters especially) have so much invested in it, and worse, when they hate it:
Aaronow: Did they find the guy who broke in the office yet? Roma: No. I don't know. Aaronow: Did the leads come in yet? Roma: No. Aaronow: Oh, God, I hate this job. (Page 108)
Glengary Glenn Ross does not read like a traditional literary play that tugs at the heartstrings like some other works. And that is why it is so unusual; the language, the dialogue, is gritty, curt and quick-witted. The profanity is sometimes excessively base. The whole play is unreserved. Needless to say, a crime is committed in the firm. Who did it? Why was it done? And what does the crime teach the person? This work isn't just about the exploration of morals and priorities in the business world, for if it was, it would severely limit and mollify its power and depth. What the play teaches is that the all mighty dollar and all the material accoutrements that come with a fine and flourishing career might be more of a detriment to the true inner qualities that we do not allow ourselves as human beings to show for fear of being dumped upon and cast aside to the gutter. This play is not embossed with excessive dripping sweetness or philiosophical musings; it is emotionally volatile, and as a 'practical' sales dictum or truism might communicate: If you can't handle it, get off the ship.
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Christian Engler (mfbiwap123)
I am a writer who loves books.
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