"Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller (Act II)

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.
Looking for more Arthur Miller vocab? Find lists from The Crucible here.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. solidify
    make firm or more firm
    There’s no question, there simply are certain men that take longer to get — solidified.
    In this case, "solidified" means "established."
  2. premium
    payment for insurance
    Linda: And Willy, don’t forget to ask for a little advance, because we’ve got the insurance premium.
  3. saccharine
    overly sweet
    Linda: And your saccharine?
    Willy: Yeah, my saccharine.
    In this case, "saccharine" is a sugar substitute.
  4. dictation
    speech intended for reproduction in writing
    Howard: I bought it for dictation, but you can do anything with it.
  5. yearning
    prolonged unfulfilled desire or need
    Because in those days I had a yearning to go to Alaska.
  6. gratitude
    a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
    There was respect, and comradeship, and gratitude in it.
  7. recitation
    written matter that is repeated from memory
    (The recitation continues.)
  8. proposition
    an offer for a private bargain
    Linda, he’s got a proposition for me in Alaska.
  9. incredulously
    in a disbelieving manner
    ( Incredulously.)
    In a disbelieving manner.
  10. frenzy
    state of violent mental agitation
    The music rises to a mocking frenzy.
  11. distressed
    afflicted with or marked by anxious uneasiness or trouble
    Jenny ( distressed): Say, Bernard, will you go out in the hall?
  12. carte blanche
    complete freedom or authority to act
    Long distance, carte blanche, special deliveries.
  13. resentment
    a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will
    Willy (with a strong edge of resentment in his voice): Yeah, he came to Boston.
  14. mystify
    be puzzling or bewildering to
    Bernard: Well, just that when he came back — I’ll never forget this, it always mystifies me.
  15. bourbon
    whiskey distilled from a mash of corn and malt and rye
    He is in his vest, and he carries a bottle of bourbon.
  16. verge
    come close to
    Willy (on the verge of tears): Charley, you’re the only friend I got.
  17. raucous
    unpleasantly loud and harsh
    Suddenly raucous music is heard, and a red glow rises behind the screen at right.
  18. claw
    sharp curved horny process on the toe of some animals
    Happy: I want them with the claws.
  19. bewildered
    perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements
    Stanley follows, shaking his head in bewildered admiration.
  20. spite
    hurt the feelings of
    He thinks I’ve been spiting him all these years and it’s eating him up.
  21. frantically
    in an uncontrolled manner
    Young Bernard ( frantically): Mrs. Loman, Mrs. Loman!
  22. audible
    heard or perceptible by the ear
    Biff (at the table, now audible, holding up a gold fountain pen): . . . so I’m washed up with Oliver, you understand?
  23. befuddled
    confused and vague, especially of thinking
    He starts right, befuddled.
  24. sensuous
    taking delight in beauty
    Raw, sensuous music accompanies their speech.
    In this case "sensuous" also means "sexy."
  25. ominously
    in a manner suggesting something bad will happen
    She rises ominously and quietly and moves toward Happy, who backs up into the kitchen, afraid.
  26. implacable
    incapable of being appeased or pacified
    (Linda says nothing but moves toward him implacably.)
  27. torment
    the act of harassing someone
    I don’t want you tormenting him any more.
  28. loathing
    hate coupled with disgust
    Biff (still on the floor in front of Linda, the flowers in his hand; with self-loathing): No. Didn’t.
  29. conscious
    showing realization or recognition of something
    Willy (suddenly conscious of Biff, turns and looks up at him, then begins picking up the packages of seeds in confusion): Where the hell is that seed?
  30. immobile
    not capable of movement or of being moved
    Willy (frozen, immobile, with guilt in his voice): No, I don’t want to see her.
  31. seething
    in constant agitation
    Willy (turning to her, seething with hurt): There’s no necessity to mention the pen at all, y’know.
  32. contemptuous
    expressing extreme scorn
    What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am!
  33. astonished
    filled with the emotional impact of overwhelming surprise
    Biff’s fury has spent itself, and he breaks down, sobbing, holding on to Willy, who dumbly fumbles for Biff’s face.
    Willy ( astonished): What’re you doing?
  34. idyllic
    charmingly simple and serene
    In accents of dread, Ben’s idyllic music starts up.
    Happy (his arm around Linda): I’m getting married, Pop, don’t forget it.
  35. elegiac
    expressing sorrow often for something past
    Willy ( elegiacally, turning to the house): Now when you kick off, boy, I want a seventy-yard boot, and get right down the field under the ball, and when you hit, hit low and hit hard, because it’s important, boy.

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