Lincoln, the older of the two, gives up a life of coning people out of their money to lead a more ones and respectable life, only to fall back into deceiving and cheating people once more. Booth, on the other hand, wishes he had the skills to “con” people and curses Lincoln for attempting to lead a more sincere life. The constant back and forth dialogue between Lincoln and Booth throughout the entire play reveals a plethora of psychological characteristics and attributes both individuals possess.
When looking at personality traits of both characters it becomes apparent that there are many similarities that tie the two brothers together. Differences between the characters vive each a clear and separate identity and allow Lincoln and Booth to clash, eventually ending their relationship through the most dramatic and brutal means Imaginable. From the beginning to the end of Topped/underdog there Is no positive growth or character development, In actuality the exact opposite occurs.
Both characters do not develop, but rather deteriorate; hitting what appears to be rock bottom by the end of the play. The destruction of Lincoln and Booth is due in large part to the childhood and experiences each had while growing up as part of a highly histrionically family. Lincoln is original portrayed as attempting to clean up his lifestyle and live an honest and truthful existence. However, when it is revealed that Lincoln has been coning Booth out of his money, from practically the start of the play, it becomes apparent that in many ways both brothers are one and the same.
In order to clearly understand both Lincoln and Booths current lifestyle and psychological characteristics the scattered and often fragmented discussions of their past childhood and parental guidance need to be addressed. The nonexistence of rental figures or role models throughout most of their childhood has created the situation both characters find themselves in at the start of Topped/underdog. Lincoln and Booth find themselves leading empty lives. Already in their thirties, both characters have nothing to show for it.
Lincoln has been divorced by his wife, lost all his money he gained through coning people on the streets by playing three-card Monte and has no place to call his own. Quite similarly to his brother, Booth has no job of his own, which results in his girlfriend losing interest in him. He constantly tempts to convince his brother to help him in leading a life of coning and manipulating people out of their money, as a means of climbing out of the hole Booth finds himself in. The life of emptiness both characters lead comes from the constant feeling of being worthless, they felt growing up. L think there was something out there that they liked more than us and for years they was struggling against moving towards that more liked something” (67). Being the older brother, Lincoln accepts the reality of why his parents left him and Booth. The “something out there,” Lincoln is Lusciously Is ten tidally Tort Nils parents to nave multiple sexual partners. Lincoln and Booth catch their parents having affairs with other people. The similarities between the two brothers empty lifestyles and desire of gaining money through the coning of innocent strangers, is directly correlated to the way both brothers were brought up.
Watching their parents cheat on each other, lead lives of deception and show virtual no love for their children instilled the notion of looking out for your and only your best interests as an individual. This is seen through the way Lincoln earns a paving; taking money from innocent people on the streets without any remorse. “We took a father for the money he was goanna get his kids new bikes with and he cried in the street while we vanished” (55). Lincoln is stating how he would take people’s money, innocent good people’s money, and not even look back.
Although Lincoln attempts to change his lifestyle, getting an honest Job and making honest wages, he quickly returns to a lifestyle of cheating and coning people as soon as he gets fired from his first Job. Booth does not partake in the coning game three-card Monte, not cause he is an honest, hardworking and respectable citizen, but simply because he is not good enough to be successful like Lincoln has been. His desire to play the game and earn a living by taking money from others is revealed through his constant begging of Lincoln to teach him to be a successful three-card Monte conman, which Lincoln refuses. We could be a team, man. Rake in the money! ‘ (20). Although Booth is not skilled in the game of coning people like his older brother, Booth’s desire to prosper by the means of making others suffer reveals a similarity between the psychological characteristics of him and his brother. Both brothers put themselves above everyone else around them. Booth wants to do whatever is necessary in order to be better off and the same is true for Lincoln. This similarity in the desire to rise above the rest, that the two characters in Topped/Underdog share, extends to everyone around them and does not exclude each other.
As is evident in the events of the play, Lincoln, as well as Booth, is prepared to do anything to each other as long as there is economic opportunity or status to gain. Lincoln plays three-card Monte with his younger brother throughout the play, insistently letting him win as a means to convince him to put down a wager on his once he is confident. When it is revealed that Lincoln has conned his own brother, the only family he has left, out of his entire life savings it becomes evident that there is no man on Earth Lincoln wouldn’t attempt to cheat in order to prosper. Ooh, you thought you was finally happening… Thought you was uh Player. But I played you, BRB” (107). Lincoln has Just successfully lured Booth into making a bet on a three- card Monte game and successfully cheats him out of his entire lifesaving, revealing hat Lincoln shows no real bond to anybody, not even with his only remaining family member. Booth is after his own personal prosperity and success, putting himself above everyone else around him much like his older brother Lincoln is. Booth allows Lincoln to stay in his apartment for one reason, which is that Lincoln has something that Booth wants.
Something that Booth needs. Lincoln possesses the skills to achieve great wealth through the game of three-card Monte. Booth is frustrated when Lincoln does not teach him the skill of the trade, hindering Booth from canceling personal success. Here I am trying to earn a living Ana you standing In my way. ” (21). Similarly to how Lincoln uses Booth to achieve greater economic prosperity through coning his younger brother out of his life savings, Booth needs to use Lincoln in order to increase his own economic situation.
The frustration that is felt by Booth, when Lincoln will not partake in his younger brother’s wishes, reveals that Booth is solely using Lincoln as a means to and end. The end being to increase his own individual status. The dialogue between the two brothers in Topped/Underdog reveals internal hearted struggles within both Lincoln and Booth. Both characters struggle with internal psychological dilemmas, however the predicaments are different for Lincoln and Booth. Booth is in denial of his current overall life situation. “No man, Im cool. She’ll be here in a minute. Patience is a virtue. She’ll be here. (66). Booth is in denial that his girlfriend is not going to come over for the elaborate dinner he created her. Booth states, “she’ll be here in a minute,” when in fact she is already six hours later for the date. Booth is in a current state of self-denial, which is clear by his attempt to invoice himself that his girlfriend is simply running late and not Just standing him up. This concept of self denial is even more evident by the constant lies he tells his older brother, including the made up story of being engaged to his girlfriend and the refutation of possessing girlie magazines underneath his bed.
While Booth attempts to create a fantasy life as a means to mask over the harsh reality he faces daily, Lincoln suffers from a different internal struggle. The psychological struggle that Lincoln battles internally is one that has detrimental effects on his overall character and personality. Coming from a background of prospering at the expense of others loses, there seems to be a glimmer of hope for Lincoln overall character when he decides to follow a more respectable lifestyle and takes an honest Job working in an arcade.
It is when Lincoln is working at this Job that it seems his character is strong enough to overcome the empty and horrible affects his childhood left on him. At the point when Lincoln begins to show initial signs of character growth, he is quickly brought back to the harsh life he has followed since childhood. Being fired and replaced by a wax mummy parallels the feeling of worthlessness his parents showed toward him throughout his life. Lincoln quickly falls back into the life of lying and coning to gain wealth that it seemed he had finally been able to escape. “Cause my sit is back.
And better then it was when I left too” (84). Through the expressions and diction Lincoln uses when conversing with Booth, it appears that the internal struggle Lincoln is coping with is that of a battle between good and evil. Lincoln attempted to leave the life of sin and wrongdoing behind him when he got an honest Job at the arcade, only to be overcome once more by sin and fall back down to the lifestyle he fought so hard to leave. Before leaving their children, Booth and Lincoln parents left each child with a total of 500 dollars each, as an attempt to make light of abandoning their children at such young ages.
By comparing what Lincoln does with the money that is given to him with that of Booth’s use of the money, it unveils differences between the brothers’ psychological characteristics. “She said heroes 500 bucks and you didn’t undo thud knot to get a look at the cash… Sit. I would opened it right away” (105). Once Lincoln stressfully cons Booth out AT Nils entire Disentangles, wanly was given to him by his mother, Booth reveals that he had never once opened the stocking that his mother had placed the money in.
This scene, taking place toward the end of the play uncovers a personal trait that Booth possesses. Booth although constantly suffering from others actions, still holds trust in people. Lincoln is completely dumbfounded that Booth would not check to see if in fact there was what was promised inside the stocking. “She could been Jiving you, BRB. Jiving you that there really was money in his thing” (106). By Lincoln being widely open to the possibility that his mother never put any money into the stocking shows that Lincoln, unlike his brother, does not trust a single human being.
He has such little emotional attachment to everyone around him that he can hardly fathom the concept that not everyone is out to con him. By not opening the stocking, never questions whether Lincoln was coning him out of his own money, and having confidence that his girlfriend would show up to dinner, it is evident that he still holds trust in people. On the other hand, Lincoln has earned cold to the entire world, not trusting anyone and always second guessing that people are out to get him.
It is not until Lincoln convinces Booth that in fact nobody, not even his own brother is on his side, does Booth completely loose what little Just and dignified characteristics he possessed, and kills his brother as a means of escape from this harsh reality. Cursed with morally corrupt and unloving parental figures, two brothers find themselves leading dismal lifestyles, in Topped/Underdog. The ways in which both Lincoln and Booth are brought up have catastrophic impacts on their own psychological characteristics.
While there are noticeable differences when comparing both brothers, it is the similarities that create the most chaos in the play. These similarities are most prevalent in the constant examples of each brothers desire to put himself above everyone else. Both brothers constantly act on economic opportunities that allow themselves to prosper at the expense of people, from complete strangers to even each other. The clash of the two characters traits ultimately is resolved by the most catastrophic event in the entire play. The complete and utter destruction of their relationship.