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 CrucibleClick 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
Essay about The Crucible by Arthur Miller
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The Crucible was based in 1692 in and around the town of Salem,
Massachusetts, USA. The Salem witch-hunt was view as one of the strangest and most horrendous chapters in the human history. People that were prosecuted were all innocent and their deaths were all due to false accusation of people’s ridiculous belief in superstition and their paranoia. The Puritans in those times were very strict in personal habits and morality; swearing, drunkenness and gambling would be punished. The people of Salem believed in the devil and thought that witchcraft should be hunted out. The play can be seen as a general statement on the effects that fear and fanaticism can have on human beings and how one person can cause such catastrophe.
It…show more content…
Looking at the two historical events, we can see that hysteria was ever-present at the times in which they occurred. It is evident that this hysteria ruined the lives of many people, due to the constant accusations of witches and communists. The events that led up to the Salem witch trails and McCarthyism was also similar. Both events were irrational fears that witchcraft and communism were going to change the face of society if drastic measures were not taken.
People were involved in persecution in both time framed. In Salem, it was the witches who were hunted. With McCarthyism, it was the communists that were hunted. As in America in the 1950s (their assumption being that communists were out there), in The Crucible the villagers of Salem believed that the devil was out there. The people really believed that Lucifer was roaming the streets of Salem seeking to destroy the town and seeking to destroy the institution of the church. In many ways the assumption of devil activity seemed to be a way of finding a scapegoat for the personal problems of the community.
So 'The Crucible' is a subtle way to show what was happening in
America at the time without actually relating to that time. In Salem the accused are the communists and the accusers are McCarthyists. So
John Proctor the hero of Arthur Millers story is the equivalent of a suspected communist in the USA at the time of the cold war.