Midterm Essay Question 4
The True Criminal
Being a salesman has always carried a negative stigma since the early 1900s. Being seen as pushy, high pressure, deceitful people; the dreaded activity of purchasing some car or new appliance has haunted everyone at some point or another. Many words have come to describe salesman such as “sharks”, “cons”, “thieves” etc., and these words have stuck with the profession throughout the century. Two very realistic depictions of such phonies can be seen in Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller and Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet. They depict the styles of two salesmen who have very similar selling techniques, but at the same time can be contrastingly
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They use a variation of techniques such as door-in-the-face and foot-in-the door just to name a few (Baron & Branscombe). Miller and Mamet depict this from the salesman’s side. They place this psychologically demanding technique at fault of the company, who requires them to sell a goal amount or face termination from the job. Such fear could incite higher pressure selling techniques, which actually make the consumer and the seller feel uncomfortable. Mamet and Miller criticize such deceptive techniques through their plays, highlighting the negative effects (the destruction of the central unit) and exacerbating the flaws of the technique. The role of a salesman has been part of America since the very beginning. With its recent revolution in the 1900s, it has now been associated with a negative stereotype often depicted by movies, literature, and plays. While there might be individual differences in the selling techniques, sellers are all perceived the same: dishonest, deceitful, and as con artists. Such a stigma created by their lack of concern after the sell has been made often reconfirms this stereotype. These prejudices notwithstanding, society often places a high demand on consumerism to help the economy and pushing the achievement of the American dream. Miller and Mamet uncover the treacheries of the salesman industry leaving the question as to whom the true criminal is : society or the salesman.