Theme in Glengarry Glen Ross
The business world is very ruthless. The idea of securing a business deal is important for the salesperson, because it is one of the only means to guarantee an income. Salesmen may be inclined to lie, cheat, and steal during desperate times and measures. In the play Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet uses direct presentation to explore the central theme that the need to be successful in business may lead men to perform immoral deeds through Shelly Levene, Dave Moss, and Ricky Roma’s motives to win a sales competition.
One way an individual can exhibit desperate behavior in business is through bribery. Bribery, in business, portrays a sense of urgency and anxiety that failure is imminent. Shelly Levene, a longtime businessman who has been unsuccessful, decides to bribe Williamson to give him the A-list leads. Levene offers, “twenty percent, and fifty bucks a lead” in order to get the leads from Williamson (24). Levene wants to do anything in his power in order to succeed and believes the only way he is able to do so is by bribing Williamson. This unethical action explicitly demonstrates that Levene is willing to sacrifice his integrity in order to maintain his position at the real estate agency.
In the event that seeking help from another person through bribery does not work, it may be necessary for a person to take business into his or her own hands. Dave Moss, an old-timer like Levene, knows that nobody will help him succeed; therefore, Moss must be proactive in order to keep his job. Currently at risk for losing his job, Moss decides to “steal the leads, I’m going to the movies tonight with a friend, and then I’m going to the Como Inn . . . they can’t prove anything” (43). He concocts a story that will provide him with an alibi, which will prevent investigators from discovering he was the culprit. While this is meant to be an undercover operation, Mamet makes it obvious to the reader by explicitly stating Moss’s intentions....