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The Culture of American Capitalism

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Glengarry Glen Ross
The Culture of American Capitalism
David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross offers its audience a vivid portrait of the plethora of fallacies within a Capitalist-driven society. Within the realms of playwriting, Mamet echoes many of Karl Marx’s same critiques of Capitalism: universal acceptance, unequal distribution of resources, priority of self-interest versus that of the society in which one lives, and the false belief in the fair pursuit of achievement. These critiques are supported through the development of the characters who each represent a specific critique of American Capitalism. In addition to said critiques, Mamet shows how the artificial beliefs and subsequent actions derived from a Capitalistic culture can be counterproductive for an economic system/culture and its individuals. A constant example of this is the portrayal of men in this piece. The characters all associate the worth of a man with his level of success. The problem here is that a constant ideal of American Capitalism is that success is represented by material wealth, rather than an intangible source of self-fulfillment. Strength of intangible values is not the measure of a man, rather his ability to successfully fulfill the monetary-driven duties bestowed upon him by his boss. The successful fulfillment of the duties bring temporary, but instant gratification with the tools to continue to successfully fulfill those duties. Roma is depicted as not only the pinnacle of success in the office, but also as a “man” by the definition implied by Mamet. However, the representation of success is more or less overshadowed by the exploration of the definition of success and failure in capitalism. The entity of Mitch & Murray draws a very clear line between success & failure with the competition that is enacted at the beginning of the play. The award for successfully convincing...

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