Happiness Essay

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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…show more content…
Initially, Mahfouz presents the happiness as something positive; something that the protagonist actually wants. He explains that it is short and foreshadows its end: “Oh no, this must be just a fleeting mood which could never be permanent. For if it lasted forever, man would become an angel and reach the world beyond.” This implies that human happiness is both rare and brief. If it were any other way, as it happens with the protagonist, people would not be people at all. This again demonstrates the scarcity of human happiness, as the implication is that no one is really happy. Even with successes and possessions, man is usually unhappy, much like the protagonist. In fact, the protagonist's servant puts this into perspective. He explains happiness is imperfect and that "this is the nature of life." Indeed, even when the novelty of happiness does occur, it is not perfect, and also not completely sought. This point is further emphasized when the protagonist's euphoria begins to bother him. Indeed, it is initially seen in a good light: it makes him nice to his servant, causes him to stop fighting with his rival, and makes him stop worrying about his son. It even allows him to see the errors of his past. However, later on, it prevents him from feeling any other emotion; it prevents him from working and being with his friends. The overwhelming joy
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