Sexual Perversity in Chicago Characters

David Mamet

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Danny Shapiro

Danny Shapiro, an insecure twenty-year-old assistant office manager who seeks the acceptance of others. He simply wants to belong. Toward that end, Danny listens with awe to Bernie’s tales of sexual prowess and asks questions that feed Bernie’s ego. To please Bernie, his replies are generally nondirective reflections of Bernie’s statements. Danny is a loyal friend to both Bernie and Deb. He defends Bernie against their coworkers’ verbal assaults, and he refuses to discuss the details of his relationship with Deborah. Danny is unable to open himself to others, however, and retreats from his own emotions into the safety of patterned communication. Consequently, he rejects Deb when she wants to know more about his inner being, and he returns to Bernie. Danny is sensitive enough to recognize the one point at which Bernie appears to have lost himself as well as to accept Bernie’s hurried masking of that one vulnerable moment.

Bernard (Bernie) Litko

Bernard (Bernie) Litko, Danny’s friend and coworker, a 1970’s heterosexual American male stereotype locked into exaggerating his sexual prowess to validate his masculine identity and desirability. He is homophobic. Bernie showers his speech with obscenities to prove his superiority and believes that females should be subordinated and mistreated. He, too, is insecure. Bernie lies about his occupation to attract women, deals ineffectively with a...

(The entire section is 469 words.)