"Topdog/Underdog" by Suzan-Lori Parks.

Essay by bazookUniversity, Bachelor'sA, October 2005

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"Topdog/Underdog" by Suzan-Lori Parks calls brotherhood into question. Like most brothers in history, the two characters of this play have to fight with each other in order to be the topdog. Be just brothers or to be blood brother is the question to be answer throughout this play. The characters of topdog/underdog have to confront ghosts from their past in order to forget their bad experiences and resolve their differences, but the incredible power of their own personalities added to the power play between them, makes difficult and even impossible to resolve any issue between the two brothers. In a world defined by winners and losers, there is no possibility of healing, everything is about to become the topdog.

The play begins with the two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, whose names were given to them as a joke by their father. They are on their 30's. One works as Abraham Lincoln impersonator, and the other is a student of the three card-monty con game.

Booth, being the youngest one is inexperienced and impetuous. He is always trying to put his brother down, but Lincoln once a former hustler is always ahead of his little brother.

Being the "topdog" is the goal between these two brothers and Lincoln is always on the top, he knows what is happening and where it is happening. Many times he pretends not to know what his little brother is up to, but he is just following the game, like the time when he walked into the room and he saw his little brother playing the three card game; Instead of saying something about the cards, Lincoln, played a fool with his brother and said to him "You making bookshelves? With the milk crates you making bookshelves?" Booth replied "Yeah, big bro, Im making bookshelves" (12).