Essay on Topdog/Underdog


I like the original view the author of the play offers on the life of African American men. The play opens two different perspectives. On the one hand, there is Lincoln, who turned from illegal activities to the routine job and has succeeded in his efforts to give up illegal activities. On the other hand, there is Booth, who may have a regular job but fails to give up boosting. Such two different perspectives imply two possible ways for people to choose and either character makes his choice. However, I did not like certain exaggeration or even hyperbolization of criminal inclinations of the main characters that seems to be a biased attitude of the author to Africa Americans.


The premise of the play implies the personal aspiration and efforts of individuals since, if an individual, such as Lincoln, is willing to change his life for better and to give up illegal activities, for instance, he can do it, while, if  an individual is unwilling to change his habits, as is case of Booth, he will never do it, even if he has a lot of opportunities for changes.


Matchstick Men, the main character may change his life and is willing to and, similarly to Lincoln, the main character succeeds and proves that any individual can change his life and give up illegal activities.


The exposition includes the introduction of the main characters and depiction of their occupations. The inciting incident occurs when a friend of Lincoln is shot dead. After that he decides to change his job and, when he finds a new occupation, while his brother keeps boosting is the climax of the play. The resolution begins when Booth also attempts to change his ”˜job’ but fails and the denouement shows Booth’s boosting again.


The play is unique due to the contrary representation of two African American men, who have chosen different ways in their lives.

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