Glengarry Glen Ross By David Mamet

1137 words - 5 pages

In David Mamet’s play, “Glengarry Glen Ross”, a group of sales representatives, Shelly Levene, Richard Roma, Dave Moss, and George Aaronow, are placed into a competition that sets all of them against each other. Their bosses challenge the four men to compete against one another in a sales competition where the winner with the most sales will receive a brand new Cadillac and the two people with the least sales will lose their job. With the ultimatum of losing their job, the men struggle to out due each other in hopes that they will come out on top (Mamet 21). Through dialogue and tone, Mamet presents the characters with a sense of desperation and determination; thus, he propels the story into countless affairs of deception and cheating, and ultimately shows how people are willing to do whatever it takes when driven to the edge and placed into a do-or-die situation.
The use of dialogue is essential to the representation of the characters and their conflicts in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Language plays a dominant role in nearly all aspects of the play. Each individual in the play has their own unique way of communication, representing who they are as sales men. Take for instance, in Act I Scene I, Levene pleads to Williamson for better leads as Williamson is leaving the office. Although Williamson does not cooperate with Levene, Levene still stops Williamson several times and attempts to make bargains. “Fuck it…. Get on my side. Go with me. Let’s do something,” Levene tells Williamson in this scene (Mamet 23-24). This use of dialogue demonstrates the persistence and strong desire to succeed. Their conversation shows “speeches overlapping” and “thoughts unfinished”, thus emphasizing Levene’s persistence and determination to win over Williamson (Browne, “An overview of Glengarry Glen Ross"). Mamet employs the same effects of dialogue when David Moss is discussing robbing the office with George Aaronow. Moss introduces the issue in such a sneaky and clever way that in turn causes Aaronow to become frazzled and partially confused. Moss tells Aaronow that they are “just talking” about stealing the leads, but he slowly edges into thrusting this ordeal onto Aaronow. Little to Aaronow’s knowledge, he is falling into Moss’s trap and soon becomes an accomplice for listening to Moss’s plan (Mamet 39-41). Through this scene, Mamet shows that dialogue is a “claim to power” (Worster, "How to Do Things with Salesmen: David Mamet's Speech-Act Play"). Moss is willing to deceive Aaronow, knowing his job can be jeopardized if he does not successfully deceive Aaronow. The dialogue between Moss and Aaronow merely displays how dialogue is manipulated to gain power and authority over others. The sales men yearn to have this authority. Not only would they be willing to deceive their customers, but also Mamet shows that these men will deceive each other for their own benefit. Both Levene and Moss show how language is used “to survive and to celebrate survival” (Browne, “An...

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