The Crucible Argumentative Essay Prompts

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


The literary work "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller is a very good choice for your essay. "The Crucible" is one of the most mysterious, and at the same time very utilitarian creation of the outgoing century.

The play, which hitherto raises heated debates of people, who are trying to bring to light the subjects of much controversy, which are discussed in the play: the theme of the moral choice, justice and injustice, truth and lie, trials of the innocently accused person, witchcraft, evil powers vs. good ones. This literary creation is loosely based on historical facts: the Salem witch trials of the late 1600's.

Miller leaves a lot of uncovered questions at the end of the play, which give much food for readers' thoughts. Miller gives a wonderful opportunity to read between the lines, and to conjecture some ideas. You'll be impressed by the originality, eccentricity of the plot, splendidly selected system of the title characters, and those who make the general foil for them.

The characters in the play were based upon real people who judged or were judged in hysteria. You'll close the book with a comma-like state, as there are a lot of ambiguities in it. But be sure to read it to the end, don't lose this superb possibility.

The Crucible Essay Topics

Undoubtedly, you'll benefit from writing your essay on one of The Crucible essay topics. All the below-listed topics are at your disposal. So choose one of The Crucible essay topics, which seem the most suitable for you, and develop it in the format of the essay.

  • Discuss the role that grudges and personal rivalries play in the witch trial hysteria.
  • How do the witch trials empower individuals who were previously powerless?
  • How does John Proctor's great dilemma change during the course of the play?
  • Compare the roles that Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Williams play in The Crucible.
  • What role does sex, and sexual repression, play in The Crucible?
  • Why are Danforth, Hathorne, and the other authorities so resistant to believing the claim that Abigail and the other girls are lying?
  • What kind of government does Salem have? What role does it play in the action?
  • Analyze Reverend Parris. What are his motivations in supporting the witch trials?
  • Discuss the changes that Reverend Hale undergoes in the course of the play.
  • Compare and contrast the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.
  • Understand the living conditions in Massachusetts in the 1700s.
  • Examine the dynamics of Puritanism in 1692.
  • Gather historical perspectives of American Colonial period.
  • What is your perception of the girls' allegations in the play? Do they really believe in witchcraft or are they fabricating the events?
  • Is John Proctor a tragic figure? Compare his fate to that of such tragic literary figures as King Oedipus in Sophocles's Oedipus Rex and the title character in William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  • Examine the historical facts regarding the Salem Witch Trials and Joseph McCarthy's hearings. In what ways does Miller employ these facts in the service of his drama? How do the two historical events compare to...
  • What was witchcraft? Who practiced it?
  • Describe the social response to witchcraft in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • What social and religious factors are given to account for the harsh response to witchcraft?
  • What can you find out about modern witchcraft or Wicca?
  • Compare and contrast the characters of Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor.
  • Discuss Miller's treatment of women in The Crucible.
  • Explain why the play is a tragic comedy.
  • Explain the symbolic characters and how they develop the themes.
  • Discuss how the themes of The Crucible make it both universal and enduring.
  • What is the function of Reverend Hale in the play?
  • Miller originally wrote The Crucible as a critique of McCarthyism, but he distanced his narrative by using the Salem witch trials as the setting for the play. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this approach.
  • At the end of the play, John Proctor recovers his sense of goodness by tearing up the confession that would have saved his life. Given his character and the events which have led up to this moment, do you find this act believable? Fully explain your response.
  • In The Crucible, Miller suggests that sacrifices may be necessary to restore the social order. Discuss the sacrifices made by the play's characters and whether you think they are necessary.
  • How does the title relate to the story?
  • In The Crucible Arthur Miller is making pointed comments about individuals and how we should operate in society'. Discuss with reference to the text.
  • How are the characters tested and brought down to their essence?
  • What three characters are responsible for the trials and why?
  • How does the Crucible portray justice or injustice?
  • Compare the character of Elizabeth Proctor to that of Mary Warren. What value systems does each represent?
  • Discuss Elizabeth's reaction to John's infidelity. Is she being unreasonable?
  • How are the "little crazy children jangling the keys of the kingdom"?
  • What is Giles Corey's role in the play?
  • Examine Elizabeth Proctor as a symbol of truth. How has her husband "paid for" this truthfulness?
  • What motivates Elizabeth to lie? Is a good name more important than the truth?
  • How is Mary Warren used by both sides? Does she have an individual identity?

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