By DON VAUGHAN
My theatre students and I recently analyzed Death of a Salesman which earned Arthur Miller (1915-2005) a Pulitzer Prize in 1949. I pointed out that those who see or read the play could easily miss some foreshadowing in Act II when Willy Loman tells his boss, Howard Wagner, about a highly-respected salesman named Dave Singleman, who remained a successful salesman until the day he died at age 84. Loman tells Wagner that Singleman â€śdied the death of salesman,â€ť meaning that he died with dignity and respect. To be like Singleman is what Willy was aiming for in life. I feel that Miller had to include Willy giving us this information as a reference point to show the audience the contrast between Singleman and him.
Loman comments, â€śHundreds of sellers and buyers were at his funeral. Things were sad on . . . [many] trains for months after . . . [Singlemanâ€™s death].â€ť Only a few attended Willy Lomanâ€™s funeral.
At East Mississippi College, we are probably going to hold an acting recital in which my drama students present monologuesÂ and dialogues. I am thinking about kicking it off with my portrayal of Willy as he begins screaming at Wagner, his boss.
1. crestfallen (crest-FALL-uhn)
B. given to lechery
D. feeling shame or humiliation
The word crestfallen is in a Linda Loman line. Who does she say is crestfallen and what reason does she give for his crestfallenness? D is the right answer.
2. dispirited (DIS-pir-eh-tid)
A. apathetic Â
C. when something is deprived of morale or enthusiasm
D. All of the above
Death of a Salesman is a dispirited drama whose dramatic question is what is going to happen to Willy and will he and his son reconcile? C is the answer.
3. seminal (SIM-uh-nul)
B. highly original and influencing the development of future events
D. None of the above
Death of a Salesman is a seminal work in which Miller explores individual and social morality. B is the answer.
4. Which one was Miller married to?
A. Lana Turner
B. Marilyn Monroe
C. Mary Tyler Moore
D. Laura Nyro
Last weekâ€™s mystery word is panoply.
This weekâ€™s mystery word to solve has the same first three letters of the last name of a character in Death of a Salesman. A synonym for the mystery word is accidental. It has four syllables; speaking of four, the first syllable has the sound of â€śfour.â€ť
Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D. in Mass Communication, is a professor at East Miss. Community College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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