To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. The title character of Mr. Woyzeck is the essential uneducated common man; Edmond is a middle-class contemporary suburbanite, but Mr. Mamet clearly sees him as a representative of an abused underclass. Walking out on his wife, the protagonist Colin Stinton searches for sexual release and finds himself victimized in a series of entrapments - by pimps, whores and street conmen.
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Synopsis[ edit ] The plot, which has a certain fable -like quality, revolves around the titular character, Edmond Burke, a white-collar worker in New York City.
When he accuses a three-card monte dealer of running a crooked game, the dealer and his shills beat Edmond to the ground. Increasingly convinced of the ugliness and difficulty of human existence, Edmond buys a knife from a pawnshop. He threatens a woman on a subway platform, then beats an African-American pimp who is trying to rob him, while calling him racial slurs.
Invigorated by the act of violence, he goes to a coffeehouse and propositions his waitress, Glenna. At her apartment, he tells her how alive beating the pimp has made him feel in a highly racialized speech. Glenna compares the feeling to the one she gets when she is acting. Edmond claims she is not a real actress because she only takes acting classes and does not actually perform for a paying audience.
Edmond encourages her to be honest with herself, and to say that she is not an actress but a waitress. Glenna begins to find his odd behavior disturbing and asks him to leave. An argument escalates, and Edmond kills her with the knife he has bought. Later, he hears a preacher at a mission preach that all souls can be redeemed through faith. Edmond wants to go testify to the preacher, but he is identified by the woman from the subway and arrested.
He has a short reunion with his wife, who serves him with divorce papers. In prison, a large African-American cellmate is assigned to him. In a long philosophical speech, Edmond expresses conciliatory feelings to his cellmate and blacks in general, saying that people subconsciously desire what they fear and so whites should not try to avoid blacks.
His uninterested cellmate first offers him a cigarette, and then punches him hard in the face twice. Then he threatens to kill him unless Edmond performs oral sex on him, which he does. Edmond meets with a priest and admits to being sodomized. Although he has reported the incident to the correctional officers, they were uninterested and simply said, "It happens.
In the penultimate scene, Edmond appears to forgive his cellmate, and in the final scene, set a number of years later, the two ruminate on the uncertainty of life and the role of destiny in human affairs as Edmond smokes a cigarette. Edmond utters a line that is nearly an exact quote of one from Hamlet : "There is a destiny that shapes our ends Controversy[ edit ] Despite its critical praise, the racial content of the play, particularly the numerous slurs against African-Americans, has caused controversy at colleges and universities attempting to stage it.
STAGE: MAMET EXPLORES THE FALL OF 'EDMOND'
Plot[ edit ] Edmond Burke is a middle-aged New York City businessman who visits a tarot fortune teller on the way home. The fortune teller looks at the cards concerning Edmond with a shocked expression and, a little startled, she says to him: "you are not where you belong". He decides to make changes in his life, beginning by leaving his wife. At a bar, Edmond tells a fellow patron that he has not had sex in a while and that marriage took away his masculinity. Now even more sexually frustrated, Edmond goes to a peep show ; having never been to such a place before, he is disappointed when he realizes that he is not allowed to have actual sex with the performer. Next he goes to a white-collar bordello , but cannot afford a hooker.