Topdog/Underdog Essay

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Ullmann is a freelance writer and editor. In the following essay, Ullmann examines Parks's use of foreshadowing in her play.

In her Pulitzer-Prize winning play Topdog/Underdog, Parks uses the literary device of foreshadowing in telling the story of the relationship between two brothers. The foreshadowing of Lincoln's death by his brother Booth's hand has many layers, from the obvious to the more personal and subtle. By the end of the play, Parks leaves the reader wondering whether Lincoln's death was inevitable, no matter what choice either brother made.

On the broadest, most obvious level, the "joke" of the brothers' names, Lincoln and Booth—after President Abraham Lincoln and his assassin John Wilkes Booth—foreshadows Lincoln's death by his brother Booth at the end of the play. To reinforce the historical connection, the brothers have as their first names what the historical figures used as surnames. There...

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This section contains 1,910 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Topdog/Underdog Study Guide
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