Glengarry Glen Ross and Death of a Salesman Essay
After watching Glengarry Glen Ross I noticed that there seemed to be a similar message within Death of a Salesman. The broadest aspect being the negative effects of capitalism. Although represented in entirely different ways, the two stories both have the same underlying idea. It is clear that both stories show that capitalism renders the ability to not only be a moral person, but creates a void from having a family and relationships.
In Death of a Salesman, Willy’s relationship with his family slowly deteriorates and inevitably his job is what leads him to the demise of his family and his life. The pressure to succumb to capitalism and to be a salesman is all that he grasps onto in fear of being seen as a failure or unsuccessful in society. In Glengarry Glen Ross, the film mostly took place in the office, representing that these men have no life outside of their work. In search of “The American Dream” each of the characters seemed to have lost what it is that they were essentially working towards.
Instead they invest all of their time and energy into being a salesman that they don’t have time to invest into making a family. So as one story tells that capitalism destroys families, the other depicts it as a barrier from non-business relationships and keeps people from obtaining a family. The irony of it all is that by complying to this business world, these characters all feel that they are achieving this ideal life, but in reality it takes over their lives and becomes their identity as a whole.
The more distant they all get with reality, nature, family, etc the more they lose touch with reality. And over time without family values and responsibilities a person can easily lose their moral compass and their ability to communicate and function in the World. Societal pressures to succeed seem to be the driven force behind both Glengarry Glen Ross and Death of a Salesman. In the film, the characters are all pressured to work hard with a prize incentive and also to avoid getting canned at the office.
For Willy, on the other hand, his pressures all stem from inside of himself and his own perception of what he needs to do and who he needs to be in order to feel successful. The capitalist driven society marked many changes, and although it seemed to have been representative of this ideal life, it was shown to be the complete opposite. The “American Dream” could have been better off as the “American Pipe Dream”.