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
The characters in the play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, have a lot of pride. They are all known as good citizens, for one reason or another, and they all would like to keep their good name. John Proctor would like to be known as the man who sticks up for the little person and always does the right thing. Reverend Parris is known for being the churchly figure that lives by the bible and its teachings. Judge Danforth wants to be known as a steadfast judge who always makes the right decisions. When put in a tough situation dealing with life or death, all of these characters choose to keep their reputations rather than do the right thing or saving their lives. The importance of having a good name is a very prominent theme in The Crucible.
John Proctor is the model citizen. He has good morals and tries to do the right things. He protects the innocent and does not budge from his beliefs. He has built up a lot of respect for his name. That is why it is hard for Proctor to give up his good name. Everyone sees him as the good guy. For example, Proctor had an affair with Abigail Williams. He can use this evidence in court to show that she is guilty, but he is reluctant to. He tries to find other ways to prove her guilty without losing his respect. Also, Proctor is able to get away free if he agrees to sign a paper saying he was an ally of the devil. He struggles to lie that he did work with the devil. When he is asked to sign a paper saying this, he can’t. The document would be hung on the church door for all to see. His reputation would be ruined. He stood up in court to save peoples lives by saying the truth, and it didn’t work. Proctor is able to save his own life by lying, but he just can not. He sees the others go down as noble people. It is not right to lie, so Proctor tears up the document and hangs with the others. He could not live with the guilt that his name would be tainted forever.
Reverend Parris does not want his good name to be tarnished either. Parris is known throughout the town as the churchly figure. Most citizens do not like his personality, but he is respected for his belief in religion. During the trials, Parris knows deep down that some of the people are not guilty. However, if he were to stand up for them and say they are innocent, he would be going against the bible. When he says that someone did not see the devil, he himself would be accused of making a pact with the devil. Parris has no respect other than his respect for being very religious. If he were to loose this respect, he would be ruined. He would be treated very poorly and he could do nothing about it. Parris can not loose his good name.
Lastly, Judge Danforth is known as a stolid judge who makes the right decisions and does not back down from them. Eventually, deep down he realizes that he is hanging innocent people. He knows that Abigail is putting on a show. Unfortunately, he has sentenced too many people before realizing this. If he were to back down, he would be showing that he killed innocent people and that he was wrong. He is known as being just and right. His name would be ruined. He could not do anything to gain his respect back. He would be questioned for his decisions in the past. He would loose his job. This is why Judge Danforth will not give up his good name.
Having a good reputation is very important in The Crucible. It means you can be accepted by society. If you do not have a good name, you will be completely rejected. John Proctor would no longer be thought of a morally straight and righteous person. Reverend Parris would loose all his respect and not be accepted by society. Judge Danforth would be constantly questioned and loose his job. Keeping and maintaining your good name is an overwhelming theme in The Crucible.
This academia was first published 27 Nov 2004 and last revised 16 Feb 2016.Adam Cap is a sometimes raconteur, rare dingus collector, and webmaster probably best known for SixPrizes (serving as “El Capitan”) and PkmnCards (read: fine art purveyor). He scrapbooks yonder every minute or three.