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How Willy Loman’s Mental Illness Relates to His Failure in Society

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One of the most common, but misdiagnosed mental illness conditions in the world is the bipolar disorder. Many people in the world suffer every day from the lack of accurate diagnosis of their condition, which leads to those victims being left unaware of their true mental state. Willy Loman, the protagonist of the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, is a similar individual whose disorder went unnoticed, and caused him to act irrationally. Given his actions, one can conclude that Loman is a mentally unwell individual whom suffers from a mental condition most commonly known as bipolar disorder with psychotic features. When the mental state of Willy Loman is thoroughly examined, the diagnosis can be broken into three parts: the hyper state, the depressed state, and the psychotic features. Through the character of Willy Loman, Miller shows how the mental state of an individual relates to their success or failure in society.

One way in which Willy displays symptoms of the Bipolar disorder is through the hyper state of mind. The hyper state of mind includes behaviors such as amplified optimism, absurd thoughts, impulsive and rash behaviour. Such characteristics are seen in Loman throughout the play as he gets tied up in planning unrealistic future goals. An example of such behaviour is when Willy truly believes he will “get a little place out in the country and raise some vegetables and a couple of chickens”. The idea of purchasing land and raising animals is overly ambitious and quite unrealistic since Willy is at a very poor financial state and doesn’t even have a job. Another example closely associated with the hyper state includes Willy’s impetuous behaviour concerning his unusual activities. For instance, at some point during the play Willy has the desire to begin gardening in the middle of the night and do so. Loman also precipitously begins to spend money on unnecessary items when he should in fact be using that money towards household necessities, such as bills and food. As can be seen, Loman’s hyper state causes him to become overly optimistic and devices unrealistic plans, as well as it encompasses his irrational money spending habits. Such actions are what led to Loman’s failure in society, and it can be seen that his mental disorder is the prime reason for his failure. 

An individual’s failure in many cases is more closely related to a serious matter such as a mental illness, and in Loman’s case, his illness is overlooked and eventually leads to his downfall in society. The unrealistic optimism, impulsive behaviour and rash decision-making, all, validate the hyper state that Willy finds himself in and consequently divulge his mental health condition (Bipolar disorder).   

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How Willy Loman’s Mental Illness Relates To His Failure In Society. (2021, November 22). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from
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