Who is the mark and who is the master of the game? What is the real thing and what is the carefully crafted facsimile? This is always the question in Mamet. The last word of fate, the final turn in the narrative, is a moment of supreme shame for the victim. As in: I let my guard down, I didn’t watch closely enough, I wasn’t careful enough, so this is what I deserve. There is no such thing as an accident in Mamet’s world. There is only what is known and what is unknown. Who has paid the most attention? Who knows the most? This is an undeniably harsh model of existence, perhaps a peculiarly Jewish one. “It never stops,” utters one character to another in Homicide (1991), in reference to the persecution of Jews. To stave off any more catastrophes, we must all sleep with both eyes open and be always on the lookout for the Freudian slips and “tells” of our enemies.
—Kent Jones, “House of Games: On Your Mark”