Happiness: a Human Disease -- An Examination of the Allegorical Theme of Existentialism in the Happy Man
The short story, “The Happy Man” by Naguib Mahfouz, discusses the human condition, presenting existentialism as its central theme. Specifically, the story seeks to illustrate unhappiness of the common man and the effect it has on his life. It is an allegorical piece, in which the unnamed protagonist showcases the state of the human as unhappy; only scarcely finding joy. Indeed, the euphoric feeling the protagonist feels is contrary to what he usually feels and has adverse effects on his lifestyle. Mahfouz uses happiness to show that people are intrinsically unhappy as the protagonist ultimately seeks to remove his euphoria. He
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The author contrasts the protagonist with everyone else to demonstrate the scarcity and unfamiliarity of happiness in man. The main character is the only only one to experience joy – others only have their worries. Just as in reality, true happiness is rare and people are just naturally unhappy. The happiness of the protagonist inhibits his ability to enjoy his friends' company, as people are prone to discussing the woe in their lives. They complain and seek sympathy and an ability to relate to their problems. However, the protagonist's happiness does not allow that. He has too much joy to be able to relate the average, miserable person. Moreover, happiness blocks the man's ability to feel other emotions. For instance, while it is nice that he comes to an agreement with his rival, the happiness deprives him of hate. While tragedies do not faze him, he is unable to feel the sorrow that all people feel. Indeed, these emotions are what make us human. They are what we feel as people and the protagonist cannot feel them. In fact, it is as if happiness has deprived the man of his humanity.
The happiness begins to bother the protagonist to the extent that he goes to various doctors to have it removed. It is so outside of the norm that he sees it as a problem that needs to be cured. However, every doctor but the psychologist finds no problems with him. One even jokes that he wishes that the "disease would be contagious." This again illustrates how uncommon