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Schizophrenia In Death Of A Salesman

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Eric Vigna
Professor Hans
Writing 201
May 13, 2014
Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, which took place in the 1950’s and is about Willy Loman, an insecure, self-deluded traveling salesman. Willy believes enthusiastically in the American Dream of easy success and wealth. Though he is essentially a failure in the business world, he sees himself as an extremely good salesman and is very obsessed with that view. Willy is an unstable character, his mood swings violently, and he often gets lost in his thoughts while reminiscing and also holds conversations with his brother Ben, who has been dead for a while now. He shows signs of Schizophrenia disorder through his illusions of grandeur, bipolar episodes, and hallucinations. His mental disorder is also a defense mechanism to help block out the severity of reality.
“One of the most obvious kinds of impairment caused by schizophrenia involves how a person thinks. The individual can lose much of the ability to rationally evaluate his or her surroundings and interactions with others. They often believe things that are untrue, and may have difficulty accepting what they see as "true" reality” (Bengston). Schizophrenia most often includes hallucinations and/or delusions, which reflect distortions in the perception and interpretation of reality
Willy Loman's illusions of grandeur distort reality as he refuses to see his failure. He sees himself as a "well-liked" and successful salesman even though in reality he’s borrowing money from a friend named Charley and pretending that it's his pay. Though Charley often offers him a job, he never took it because it would force him to realize that he will have to confront the fact that he is not earning enough money with his current job. He is in...

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...through the entire play his hallucinations, bipolar episodes and illusions of grandeur. His mental disorder is a defense mechanism to help block out the harshness of reality. His illusions completely distort his brain, it blinds him to his personal failures. Those illusions not only messed up his view of himself but also his family. Willy cannot tell the difference between the past and present and gets lost in his hallucinations of the past while he tries to cope with the present. His reflections of his past are his attempts to live in a state of denial. He also has many hallucinations of his brother Ben. When Willy’s own thoughts of success are compromised, his mood changes violently, showing bi-polar symptoms. He has many disorganized thoughts which is another major symptom of schizophrenic disorder. It is very apparent that Willy Loman has schizophrenic disorder.
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