WORD LISTS

"Death of a Salesman," Vocabulary from Act I

February 8, 2013
Arthur Miller's expertly made drama "Death of a Salesman" is a fight against the futility of an average life and a struggle for dignity and respect.

As you read Arthur Miller's 1949 Pulitzer prize-winning play, learn these word lists: Act I and Act II.
dormer
Two beds are dimly seen, and at the back of the room a dormer window.
jovial
Most often jovial, she has developed an iron repression of her exceptions to Willy’s behavior — she more than loves him, she admires him, as though his mercurial nature, his temper, his massive dreams and little cruelties, served her only as sharp reminders of the turbulent longings within him, longings which she shares but lacks the temperament to utter and follow to their end.
mercurial
Most often jovial, she has developed an iron repression of her exceptions to Willy’s behavior — she more than loves him, she admires him, as though his mercurial nature, his temper, his massive dreams and little cruelties, served her only as sharp reminders of the turbulent longings within him, longings which she shares but lacks the temperament to utter and follow to their end.
turbulent
Most often jovial, she has developed an iron repression of her exceptions to Willy’s behavior — she more than loves him, she admires him, as though his mercurial nature, his temper, his massive dreams and little cruelties, served her only as sharp reminders of the turbulent longings within him, longings which she shares but lacks the temperament to utter and follow to their end.
crestfallen
Linda: He was crestfallen, Willy.
bashful
Biff: I bet you forgot how bashful you used to be.
idealist
You’re a — you’re an idealist!
Biff: No, I’m mixed up very bad.
enthralled
Biff (with vast affection): Sure, we’d be known all over the counties!
Happy ( enthralled): That’s what I dream about, Biff.
pompous
Happy: I gotta show some of those pompous, self-important executives over there that Hap Loman can make the grade.
insinuate
Music insinuates itself as the leaves appear.
approbation
(He pauses, then nods in approbation for a few seconds, then looks upward.)
incipient
Happy: I told you he wouldn’t like it!
Biff (angrily): Well, I’m bringing it back!
Willy (stopping the incipient argument, to Happy): Sure, he’s gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesn’t he?
regulation
In this case, "regulation" refers to a ball that is being played and hence is in an "authoritative" state. For example, in the NBA, a ball that is "regulation" is one that is currently being "played."
Willy (stopping the incipient argument, to Happy): Sure, he’s gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesn’t he?
sensation
What a sensation!
anemic
In this case, "anemic" means someone who is a "pest" or someone who is seen as being a "bother" to another.
What’re you lookin’ so anemic about, Bernard?
regent
In this context, "Regents" refers to New York state exams given to high school students.
He’s got Regents next week.
subside
(He talks through The Woman’s subsiding laughter; The Woman primps at the “mirror.”)
primp
(He talks through The Woman’s subsiding laughter; The Woman primps at the “mirror.”)
incarnate
That man was a genius, that man was success incarnate!
laconic
He is a large man, slow of speech, laconic, immovable.
dispel
Fine specimen of a lady, Mother.
willy (to Charley): Heh?
ben: I’d hoped to see the old girl.
charley: Who died?

Willy (as though to dispel his confusion he angrily stops Charley’s hand): That’s my build!
ignoramus
Willy (slamming the door after him): Ignoramus!
gallantly
Ben ( gallantly): How do you do, my dear.
poised
(Suddenly comes in, trips Biff, and stands over him, the point of his umbrella poised over Biff’s eye.)
Linda: Look out, Biff!
audacity
Ben (giving great weight to each word, and with a certain vicious audacity): William, when I walked into the jungle, I was seventeen.
imbue
That’s just the spirit I want to imbue them with!
leeway
You’ve got to make up your mind now, darling, there’s no leeway any more.
remiss
I’ve been remiss.
subdued
Linda (her voice subdued): What’d you have to start that for?
monotonous
He is horrified and turns his head toward Willy’s room, still dimly lit, from which the strains of Linda’s desperate but monotonous humming rise.

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