Symbolism In Topdog Underdog

Decent Essays
Topdog Underdog
Suzan-Lori Parks’ play, Topdog Underdog, includes many imagery, symbolism, and metaphors. She uses symbolism in the names she assigns for both actors. Imagery is used to show the type of lives that both characters live in. The characters’ name of Booth and Lincoln symbolizes the President Abraham Lincoln, who fought for African American rights. The final scene, where Booth kills his brother is set up as a metaphor. John Wilkes Booth is Lincoln’s assassin, and was a racist man who did not want African Americans to be free or accepted in society. The irony of this play is that, both Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth were white men, and the actors in this play are black. I find that the characters’ names represent the struggles
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Both characters in the play are struggling to make money, and trying to live decent lives. Parks probably wanted to show the crude humor in choosing the characters’ names to represent John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln, since she focuses more about the play itself, rather than the meanings behind the play. The imagery that goes along with the play is one that is of a low income neighborhood. The fact that both brothers rob stores throughout the city shows the tough lives that both brothers live. Both their parents are dead and they were left with the inheritance of their parents, which they are careful not to spend on. Another thing that stands out is the Chinese food that Lincoln eats, which shows that they are low income, since fast food is cheap. She uses this imagery in order to understand the background the brothers came from. Later on, Lincoln dresses up as the President Abraham Lincoln on his assassination day, but in this instance Booth is his brother that kills him. The irony of the metaphor in this scene is that President Abraham Lincoln’s face is on every $5 bill. In effect, both brothers are slaves to the cash economy. Lincoln has an insecure job that requires him to dress up as the white Abraham Lincoln, while his brother has dreams of mastering the three-card Monte trick to earn …show more content…
Ironically, she does not intend to focus on the storytelling devices, and rather focus on the characters. She mixes history, and current day struggles, which makes for an interesting play. I reacted to this play positively, and found the metaphors, imagery, and symbolism to make the play more interesting to watch, especially since it brings elements from two different time periods. Parks makes the play more powerful, since it involves the audience in finding correlations between past and present. I think the main idea of this play is to show how people live their lives, keeping in mind the various obstacles they face. In my opinion, I think this play was meant to show the audience about trust. Booth and his brother shared the apartment, allowance, and looked out for one another. However, this play shows that no matter how close you are to someone, you can never know if someone will turn their back on you. My reaction to the ending of the play was one filled with shock, especially since throughout the play both brothers seemed to look after each other. However, the recklessness of robbery and diminishing trust in the end caught up with Booth, and he had to kill his brother after his brother was about to open his

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