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Human Nature

Posted on April 16, 2018

Glengarry Glen Ross is a play written by David Mamet revolving the lives around four Chicago real estate salesman in the span of two days. The firm is trying to motivate their employees by putting them to a competition. At the end of the week, winner gets a cadillac and a set of steak knives for the runner up, everyone else pack up and go home. The four salesman scrambled for their lives doing whatever they can to keep their names up on the chalkboard and ultimately staying with the company. The once successful but now old and profitless salesman Shelley Levene blamed his bad streak on the bad “Glen Ross” (derived from the title, Glengarry and Glen Ross are two pieces of properties) leads his manager Williamson gave him. He attempted to bribed Williamson with money and his responsibility for his family for some of the good “Glengarry” leads. At the same time, fellow salesman Dave Moss is ranting on how bad they been treated by Mitch and Murray. Moss planned on robbing the office and sell all the good leads to their competitor Jerry Graff.

In the second act of the play Levene had finally broke his bad streak and signed himself an eighty something dollar contract. While Levene was celebrating for himself everyone else is bummed out over the burglary of the office last night. All the phones, typewriters and leads had been stolen. And later on Levene was told by his fellow colleagues that he signed an empty contract and received an empty from an old, troubled couple who enjoyed talking to salesman because they were lonely. Levene’s bad luck didn’t stop there. He was later busted to be the burglar of the office. Apparently Moss wasn’t able to talk Aaronow into being his accomplice, so Levene part in instead. Levene “gave” himself up in a conversation about a contract with Williamson while the police detective was questioning the employees. Levene could of not made his empty sale if he hasn’t broke into the office and saw the contract. Levene later on attempting to bribed Williamson on not to snitch on him, but this time Levene’s career is over.

This play demonstrated the evil of human nature through the lives of four real estate salesman. The things people are willing to do and the risk they’re willing to take for their own goods is shocking. That includes committing a crime, taking advantage of others and exploit people through manipulation… Unfortunately this is the cold harsh reality in the world that we live in, all of this actually happens in real life. And this isn’t something that school teaches us, and it is up each and every single one of us to learn through mistakes and adopt to new challenges.


  1. Jessica Hautsch

    Good analysis of the play here. We see the lengths that people are willing to go in order to be successful. They are willing to cheat, steal, lie, and manipulate. What is Mamet attempting to communicate about human nature in this play? Is this just an office of exceptionally bad people? Or is this office, and the corruption contained within it, utterly unremarkable because it is so common?

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Jay Wu

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