Glengarry Glen Ross: A Jungian Perspective David Mamet wrote the play “Glengarry Glen Ross” as a look into the world of sales. As with most of his work, capitalism and its effect on the actors is a major theme. Stories as they are written have characters that have different roles based on their personalities and behaviors. This assignment of roles is something that has spanned the history of literary works. Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of analytical psychology explained these roles people assume and their meaning. The term he used to refer to these character descriptions is called archetypes. All of the characters in the play have problems. Most of these are based in personality flaws and a lack of moral character. When
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Levene was asked to do the burglary because if he was caught he would take the blame by himself. He was singled out for the archetype that fit him best. Every office needs a scapegoat and being the oldest and least productive he subconsciously plays the role to a tee. Here where everything comes together, a desperate man, making base decisions from a negative subconscious, led by a persona steeped in dishonesty, who knows that he puts himself at risk of either getting fired for not selling or getting arrested for the break in, who is manipulated by the others in his workplace, and trying desperately hold on to an self-image long gone.
Mamet is hinting that these factors are not something unique in a sales office or in capitalistic western society as a whole. This is why the character is so relatable. John Williamson is the office manager. He is not a salesman. He works for the owners and his job it to “marshal those leads.” (Mamet) He is a company man and his pay is not based on commission. He takes his orders from the owners. He has no sympathy for any of the salesmen in the office. He takes a constant barrage of crap from each of them every day. He does not have to sell in the field and that alienates him from the rest of the characters. In the opening scene we see Levene trying to get extra leads form him. When Levene offers money he is quick to say yes, but he wants all of the money right then. Levene says he will have the full sum the next