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Oleanna essay

In the play Oleanna, David Mamet reveals a relationship between a professor, a student, and their battle for power and dominance, which ultimately has destructive consequences. The play introduces two characters with opposite personalities that conflict and ironically their status exchanges. Although the dialogue is frustrating by executing many interruptions and incomplete sentences, it reveals Mamet's traits of being realistic and portrays lots of conflict. Mamet illustrates effective usage of symbolism and irony to convey a controversial scene for the viewers.

In the first scene Mamet effectively expresses the powerful status the professor, John, holds with his actions of constantly interrupting the student, Carol, in their conversations and use of complex words that she doesn't understand. The professor acts as though he is highly educated and professional, and she is merely a dazed student.

The loss of the professor's power and control is shown throughout the play with Mamet's use of symbolism in the character's appearance and actions. John empowers himself expressing, "we're buying a house”(Mamet 17), numerous times and discussing his promotion to tenure. The audience sees that the professor is calm, collected, and in control throughout the first scenes by the way he carries himself with his organized office and briefcase. The viewers see the professor dressed in a coat and tie, dress shoes, and generally well-groomed hair to begin with. Later in the video of Oleanna, he appears with messy hair, loosened tie, and casual shoes. Finally towards the last section of the video, John has no tie, sleeves up, and he is chain smoking. The changes in his appearance obviously are an outcome of his well-established life being destroyed by the misinterpretations of his student.

The viewer experiences the gain of power and control with symbolism through the student and her appearance and actions.

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