Glengarry Glen Ross
by David Mamet
Glengarry Glen Ross Theme of Respect/Reputation
The "R" word gets dropped pretty early in Glenglarry Glen Ross. Levene explains to Williamson that a man gets a reputation based on how he acts when he's crushing it and how he acts when he's dealing with bad luck. These men are their jobs and they are their reputations—in fact, their reputations are entirely connected to their jobs. The way they work is the way they are perceived.
In this world, your reputation also determines the level of respect you get. It's a tricky game, and if you lose your rep, you lose respect. That's a pretty slippery slope, people.
It's no wonder that with so much riding on reputation, characters are willing to do a lot to protect it or to get it back.
Questions About Respect/Reputation
- What actions define a man's reputation as far as Levene is concerned?
- What defines reputation in the office?
- In the world of the play, does reputation have any connection to a man's actions, or is reputation merely a result of sales numbers?
- Why does no one seem to respect Williamson?
Chew on This
Respect is what leads to Levene's demise—both his desire to regain it, and his refusal to show it to Williamson.
A good reputation is all a man has when he's working for the sale. At least that's what Mamet would lead us to believe. It's like an Aretha Franklin song out there, minus the awesome voice and wall of soul. In order to gain and maintain a reputation in this play, though, characters have to shut off their moral compasses.