Willy Loman In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

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Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman chronicles a twenty-four hour period where the play’s main character, Willy Loman, suffers from numerous flashbacks which exhibit the less than happy reality he presently faces as he argues with his family. His character suffers a setback in memory, which causes him a great deal of trouble. It could be said that this trouble is invoked by Willy himself, because he is clearly remembering important periods in his life which lead to the current troubles he faces. However, as evidenced by his mood swings, flashbacks, and forgetfulness, there are clear indicators the Loman suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia. The play is unique because it captures a twenty-four hour period, however the different flashbacks and changing settings make it appear as if the play is over a couple of years. As the title indicates, the salesman, in this case, Willy, will perish at the end. This suggests the journey to his death will be chronicled by a lifelong set of events which decrease his motivation and moral. The play’s intent is to package these series of events into a sequential set which provides the evidence needed to explain Willy’s deficient mental state. The early examples of Alzheimer’s in the play do not only include the various shifts in Willy’s mind between present realities and past visions. His sudden mood changes, which reflect the experiences he daydreams about, also portray symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Willy struggles with sudden mood changes and a distorted image on reality, partly due to his emotional problems. The Mayo Clinic describes part of this symptom as something that can “affect the way you act and how you feel” and also lists possible effects including distrust in others, irritability and a... ... middle of paper ... ...hen I first read Death of A Salesman, I immediately remembered how I felt when he exhibited those symptoms, and it goes to show just how impactful the symptoms could be on one’s life and also how it affects their families. Although Miller does not clearly indicate the exact cause for the mental confusion and depression Willy Loman faces in Death of a Salesman, the symptoms he exhibit are clear examples of Alzheimer’s disease. His sudden mood changes and vivid hallucinations contribute to his confusion and although we only get a glimpse of twenty-four hours of his life, it is clear that his mental state and discombobulated persona has an effect on his interactions with his family. It is very said to see just how scary and depressive Alzheimer’s can be, although Alzheimer’s is not a theme in the play, it does provide the right explanation to his poor state of mind.
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