Essays Written About The Crucible

Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements / paper topics on “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller that can be used as essay starters. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in “The Crucible” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements for “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller offer a short summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the .

Need a Refresher? Click Here for a Detailed Act-by-Act Plot Summary of The Crucible

Click here for an analysis of how characters represent themes and thematic issues in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Thesis Statement/Essay Topic #1: The Crucible as a Cautionary Tale

In the opening of Act One of “The Crucible”, Arthur Miller clearly establishes that this play is about the period in American history known as the Salem witch trials. Much has been made, however, out of the historical moment in which Arthur Miller wrote the play—the McCarthy era—and it has been argued that The Crucible was Miller’s attempt to come to terms with and understand contemporary social dynamics. If you agree that The Crucible is a cautionary tale, identify what it cautions the reader against, and how it suggests that society avert or prevent such a fate. State whether you agree that The Crucible is a timeless tale, or whether you think the relevance of The Crucible will fade over time.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Analysis of the Introduction to Act One of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller

The genre of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” is, in a certain sense, a strict form that clearly delineates the role of the writer relative to the text. Miller challenges dramatic conventions somewhat by writing what might actually be considered a preface prior to the commencement of action in Act One. In this section, Arthur Miller situates “The Crucible” within its historical context, and he does not refrain from offering his own opinions about the Salem witch trials and their lasting social implications. This curious form of an introduction might, in fact, be the most important part of the play, for it explains the symbolic motivations that created the conditions that made the witch hunt possible, and, as Miller argues, such a witch hunt is not necessarily a relic of history. Write an essay in which you offer a thoughtful analysis of this introduction. Consider what meaning and insight it offers with respect to the larger narrative of this play, and consider how Miller’s motivations influence the reader’s interpretation of the play and its meaning.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Use of Fear Tactics in “The Crucible”

The play begins with rumors that the town has become plagued by witches of late, and soon this rumor generates a fear that spreads faster than wildfire. The fear escalates to such a dramatic degree that the dominant class must respond by quashing the supposed witches with extreme strategies: the trials and subsequent burnings of witches. Carefully examine how this fear escalates, identifying who the responsible parties are, what their stakes were, and what tactics they used to escalate concern in their community. Propose an argument and write an argumentative essay on “The Crucible” in which you state your belief about the inevitability of the witch-hunt, and explain how the fear tactics employed convinced otherwise rational people to believe very irrational ideas.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: Power Dynamics in “The Crucible”

One of the important motifs worth examining in The Crucible is that of power: who has it, how they got it, how they use it, and for what ends. Select one or more characters (they can be powerful or powerless) and examine the ways in which the exercise their agency and authority or, in the case of someone powerless, struggle against their powerless position. Identify the role that certain institutions (including the courts and the church and religion) played in establishing and perpetuating the power dynamics that you have identified. Conclude with a statement about the use and abuse of power. Consider whether power could have been employed different for alternate outcomes and explain why different tactics were neither considered nor used.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5 Tragedy in “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller

Plays are generally classified into one of two categories: tragedies or comedies. Each of these two categories possesses a particular set of conventions and characteristics that can be used to identify plays as either a tragedy or a comedy. On the surface, The Crucible appears to be a tragedy. Decide whether you agree with this classification of the play. If you do, identify the elements of the play that render it tragic. If you do not agree that The Crucible is a tragedy, or if you feel that it is a hybrid, then defend your position with evidence drawn directly from the text. For help with this, be sure to look at the , Death of a Salesman, for similar themes.

Click here for an analysis of how characters represent themes and thematic issues in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Ideas for a Great Arthur Miller The Crucible Essay

August 26, 2015 - Posted to Essay Types

Arthur Miller The Crucible essay

The Crucible is a story about the Salem Witch Trials that was written in the 1950s. It is a story of hypocrisy, deceit, wealth, and the ability of evil people to exploit ignorance and promote hysteria. Arthur Miller was both praised and demonized for writing The Crucible as it was very controversial at the time that it was written. If you have been given an Arthur Miller The Crucible essay to write, you definitely have a challenging task ahead of you. While the play is certainly well-written, it is deep, complex, highly political, and dark. Simply deciding an essay topic and an approach to an essay about The Crucible, by Arthur Miller is a daunting task. Because of this, we have come up with a few ideas for writing an essay on this play.

Consider the Timelessness of The Crucible

When the play was released in the early 1950s, it was quickly recognized as an allegory about the subject of McCarthyism. Many of the characters and their behaviors represented a large portion of the American public during the time of McCarthyism. Just like with McCarthyism, Miller’s characters were quick to hysteria, eager to demonize others, ignorant, and absolutely cowardly. In the midst of all this was one individual who was the nexus of all this hysteria, just like Joe McCarthy was the nexus of fabricated communist scare in the early 50s. There are many potential essay topics that can be taken from this. Here are just a few:

  • Compare and contrast the Salem Witch Trials with the McCarthy Hearings
  • Compare McCarthy to Putnam
  • Did Miller do a good job of drawing parallels between McCarthyism and the Salem Witch Trials?

One of the reasons that The Crucible is still relevant today is that events like the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism can and have still happened in modern times. Here are few The Crucible essay ideas addressing this:

  • Why was fear such a motivating factor in The Crucible? How do those in power use fear today?
  • Explore the concept of hysteria as addressed in the play and as it still exists in modern society.
  • What impact did anti-intellectualism have on the events in The Crucible? How does this sentiment permeate society today?
  • Did strong religious beliefs influence the behavior of the characters in The Crucible, or would people have been driven to behave that way given any excuse? Is religion as influential today?
  • Which group of people in modern society is most likely to become the target of public hysteria and lack of information?

Writing your Essay on The Crucible

Once you have an understanding of the play and have selected a topic, you are ready to write your essay. This means taking notes on the play, researching the author, researching the Salem Witch trials, and doing contextual research so that you have an intelligent means of comparison. Realistically, you should expect to dedicate several hours to this assignment. However, if you choose not to go this route, you always have the option of contacting for help on this or any other essay topic.

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