In Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" it is possible to believe that the main character, Willy, the father of Biff and Happy, and husband to Linda, suffers from schizophrenia or some other psychological disorder. As defined in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable disintegration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder or feeling, thought, and conduct. Schizophrenia is one of the most common mental illnesses; and about 1 of every 100 people is affected by it. Willy shows three out of the five symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking/speech (the fourth being the absence of normal behavior and the fifth being Catatonia-immobility and waxy flexibility). Furthermore, if this possibility is taken into consideration, he has a valid cause for the on-start of the disease; and it could have possibly been the reason for him committing suicide. .
In the play, it is obvious that Willy suffers from delusions and hallucinations. In the first scene, he imagines that he is talking to Biff and Happy when they were back in high school. He believes that he is watching them wash the old red Chevy that he had while they were younger. In the scene, he actually believes that he is conversing with the boys, their mother, Linda, and the neighbor boy, Bernard. At the same time, there is a woman from his past that is laughing in the background of his mind. Though this may appear as just a trip down memory lane, it is made clear that he is actually seeing the scenes, of this nature, happening in real time later on when his friend, Charley, comes over to play cards. While they are playing cards, Willy thinks that his brother, Ben, is in the room with them. As he is talking to Charley, he is also talking to Ben.