Synopsis[ edit ] The plot, which has a certain fable -like quality, revolves around the titular character, Edmond Burke, a white-collar worker in New York City. When he accuses a three-card monte dealer of running a crooked game, the dealer and his shills beat Edmond to the ground. Increasingly convinced of the ugliness and difficulty of human existence, Edmond buys a knife from a pawnshop. He threatens a woman on a subway platform, then beats an African-American pimp who is trying to rob him, while calling him racial slurs.
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Plot[ edit ] Edmond Burke is a middle-aged New York City businessman who visits a tarot fortune teller on the way home. The fortune teller looks at the cards concerning Edmond with a shocked expression and, a little startled, she says to him: "you are not where you belong".
He decides to make changes in his life, beginning by leaving his wife. At a bar, Edmond tells a fellow patron that he has not had sex in a while and that marriage took away his masculinity. Now even more sexually frustrated, Edmond goes to a peep show ; having never been to such a place before, he is disappointed when he realizes that he is not allowed to have actual sex with the performer.
Next he goes to a white-collar bordello , but cannot afford a hooker. Edmond needs money, so he plays a three-card Monte game with a street dealer. When Edmond accuses the dealer of cheating, the dealer and his shill beat him up and steal his money. Edmond becomes enraged by what he sees as the contempt, prejudice and greed of society. He pawns his wedding ring in exchange for a knife. He is approached by a pimp who offers Edmond a "clean girl" and lures him to an alleyway, where the pimp attempts to mug him.
In a wild rage, Edmond attacks the pimp with his knife while hurling racial slurs at him. He leaves him wounded and possibly dying in the alley. Suddenly euphoric, Edmond enters a coffee shop and tells a young waitress, Glenna, his newfound worldview of instant gratification.
They end up having sex at her apartment. Glenna likes him at first, but she is soon frightened by his increasingly erratic behavior and calls for help. An enraged Edmond slashes her to death, blaming her own insecurity for her murder. On a subway train , he has an angry confrontation with a female passenger. Edmond comes across a church service where a minister preaches about respect and faith. Edmond feels the urge to preach about his own experiences, and as he stands in the doorway of the church, the woman from the subway recognizes him and calls into the street for the police.
The responding officer pats Edmond down to find the knife in his front jacket pocket. Edmond is arrested. He is sent to prison for her murder. There, Edmond is paired with a black cellmate. He likes prison because it is simple. He speaks of how he has always feared black people, but now that he shares a room with one, he can finally feel a bond. The indifferent cellmate then forces Edmond to perform oral sex on him.
Edmond tells a prison minister what happened, but goes off on a tangent , shouting that God has been unfair to him. When the minister asks why he murdered the waitress, he has no answer. Years pass.
Edmond has cut connections with the outside world, refusing to see visitors. He talks to his cellmate, with whom he has developed a homosexual relationship, about the human ego and how life should not be taken for granted. He concludes that by conquering his fears, he might lead a better life.
Both men ponder the afterlife. Edmond then goes to sleep comfortably alongside his cellmate.
«Edmond», David Mamet