Death of a Salesman

Capitalism as Masculine Identity in American Theater: Death of a Salesman and Glengarry Glen Ross College

America has long prided itself on being a land of opportunity. Since the fifteenth century, pilgrims have flocked to American shores, urged onward by the thought of making money, off the rich lands and resources available here. As time has gone on, this image of America as an enormous money pot has not changed or diminished. One can find mentions of jobs and the economy spackling every newspaper, most casual conversations, and all throughout the media. And because, throughout much of history, men were the primary breadwinners and job holders, masculine identity and occupation have become joined at the hip. To quote Shelley Levene from Glengarry Glen Ross, “A man’s his job,” (Mamet 75). In a sense, he’s right; the world today puts a lot of stock in how men make their money, and doesn’t seem interested in much else. This interplay between male identity and capitalist economy has been explored quite frequently and effectively in American drama, particularly in dramatic plays of the last 100 years. The mix of money and gender dynamics serves as the foundation for many of theatre’s greatest plays, including Death of a Salesman and Glengarry Glen Ross. What each of these dramas explores regarding this theme is largely different, but...

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