How to Write a Crucible Essay (Topics + Example)
The Crucible is an interesting play that was written in the pre-contemporary time. It was loved by many and is still relevant in the contemporary time. The author of the play is Arthur Miller. He wrote it during the period of the Red Scare. That period was characterized by the unfair and widespread convictions of people due to communism. These people were convicted without any evidence and any substantial proof.
There are many topics that one could write in relation to the themes in the crucible. You could come up with a variety of thesis statements. Below are some 5 topics/thesis statements that you could consider:
Topic/Thesis 1: A Cautionary Tale
At the beginning of the first act of “The Crucible,” the author tries to establish the background to the play. The act focuses on a historical period in America called the Salem witch trials. It has been said that Arthur Miller attempted to come to an understanding of the social dynamics of the modern time out of the McCarthy era. If you share the thought that “The Crucible” was a cautionary tale, then your essay should identify the points of caution that the reader is addressing. You should go further and give remedies of how the society at large can prevent the ordeal. You can also state your assertions as to whether the play is a timeless tale. Comment on the relevancy of the play with the times. Do you think that its way past its time? Will it fade over time? Be sure to indulge the readers on these.
Topic/Thesis 2: Analysis of the Introduction of Act One of “The Crucible”
Arthur Miller’s work is mostly detached from himself as an author. The Crucible expressly delineates his role with regard to the text. Arthur puts into question certain norms in the play. He actually writes a preface that precedes action in the first act. Miller starts by placing the crucible in the right historical context. As he does this, he gives his own opinion on matters, with regard to the Salem witch trials and their resultant social effects. At the onset, this introduction raises curiosity. However, it turns out to be the crucial part of the entire play. It gives an in-depth view of the symbolic drivers of the witch hunt. In Miller's words, such an occurrence is noticeable but cannot be regarded as a relic of history. In the above light, write an essay which will offer a critical analysis of this introduction. Highlight the ulterior meanings and the understanding in kind that is offered with regard to the broader array of the play. Draw parallels as to how the underlying motivations of the author affect the reader’s interpretations of the play.
Topic/Thesis 3: How Fear Outplays Itself in the Crucible
As the play begins, there are rumors that dominate the town. These rumors revolved around the domination of witches in the town. As the rumors spread, the residents become fearful. This fear rises to a high level such that the dominant echelon of the town is motivated to respond. The most probable way of putting away these witches was to employ extreme measures such as trials and lynching. In light of the above, outline how this fear engulfs the town. Identify the primary parties that are responsible, their main stakes in the matter and the tactics that they employed to increase the concern in their respective communities. While at it, put forth an argument by writing an argumentative essay on the play. State your position and assertions about the witch-hunt. Show how it is inevitable and deliberate on the tactics used to instill fear in the residents. Show how fear dominated even the most rational people and turned them to believe the most irrational ideas.
Topic/Thesis 4: Power Interplays in “The Crucible”
Power is an interesting theme in almost all types of plays. The interplay and the interactions within the trappings of power excite many readers. It is no wonder the author of “The Crucible” dwells on it. The key questions that surround power are, who has it, how did they get it, how are they using it and what is the culmination of such power. In your essay, you can examine the above aspects of power. You could do best by singling out two or more characters that are in the play. They can be powerful or powerless. As for the powerful, show how they outwork this power. Demonstrate the authority that they assert. In the case of the powerless, demonstrate their struggle against the powerful forces. You can also delve into institutional power and how institutions in society can shape the power interplays. These institutions could include the courts, the church, and various religions. As you conclude, mention something to do with the use and also the abuse of power. With relevant examples, engage the readers as to the instances where power could have been demonstrated differently to achieve different outcomes. Go ahead and explain the rationale for ignoring various tactics that could have been used in the play.
Topic/ Thesis 5: Tragedy as theme in “The Crucible”
Generally, plays can be categorized into comedies or tragedies. In each categorization, there is set of specifications that are used to ascertain if one qualifies to be a comedy or tragedy. At the onset, the crucible tends to lean towards tragedy. If you agree, then give a succinct explanation as to why you think so. Identify the qualifying elements for it to be a tragedy. If you are of contrary opinion or are of the opinion that it is a mix of tragedy and comedy, then state your reasons for these positions. Draw evidence from the play that supports your claim.
The above are 5 sample thesis statements and topics that could be of great utility when writing the essay on Arthur Millers, “The Crucible”. They are quite straightforward and you can easily come up with literature that supports the topics. Here’s a sample essay example:
The Crucible Essay Sample
Sixty years since down the line from the date of being published, the crucible is still being considered a literary masterpiece. Arthur Miller brings out the rot in the communism era without fear of favor. The Red Scare era was a tough time for the communities living in Salem. Helpless residents were being convicted with no due regard for the law and morality. No evidence was presented; while no proof was provided to necessitate their convictions.
The story revolves around a witch-hunt that was taking place in Salem. Rumors spread throughout the town and people got scared of the situation. In contemporary time, this could be likened to the spread of news on social media platforms. Almost anyone who has access to a phone can use it for grievous purposes such as spreading rumors and hearsay about incorrect accusations. In the social media era, people tend to believe news without necessarily having to verify its authenticity. This is a theme that has been highlighted in the crucible, proving that it has relevance in the modern era.
Other themes that can apply include the extent to which one can go to save themselves out of a situation or ordeal, the effects of hatred and greed and the actions that they can inspire, and also those who dare go against the tide and do the unconventional.
In the play, there were girls who got involved with Tituba. Abigail was one of them. They went to extremes just to escape punishment. We are told that they cheated, lied, and even killed to save themselves. Abigail even went to the extent of forcing the other girls to follow in their actions. She told them to lie. She even sternly asserts to them that they should not utter a word or else she would retaliate with vengeance.
What’s intriguing about Abigail, is that she doesn’t perform these atrocities directly. The author tells us that Abigail, along with the other girls, persuades the court with their deceit so that the wrongly accused people are convicted. About nineteen people were wrongly accused of witchcraft, and the court sentences them to death through hanging. Scores of others were wasting away in prison and were in line to be hanged eventually. It is intriguing at how the girls were unwilling to stop at nothing to cover up their actions. This mistreatment that was rampant in this period could also be seen in in present time.
In all respects, everyone that gets into some form of trouble immediately starts thinking of crafty plans to get themselves out of it. These plans are undertaken with no regard for those who would get hurt. It’s a tragedy that Abigail goes to the point of stabbing herself. She does this with a needle to frame Elizabeth Proctor. She makes it look as of Elizabeth was using some voodoo doll. The situation got out of hand when the people realized that they could take advantage of the situation. They knew that they could falsely accuse anyone of being a witch, and the accused would get convicted eventually.
The context of all the happenings at Salem is that people are trying to get rid of witches in the town. This takes a wrong turn as people started accusing their friends and neighbors. This was all about malice and self-interest. Some thought that it was a perfect opportunity for them to get back at those that they despised and disliked. At the onset of the story, Thomas Putnam is seen to have an argument with John Proctor. They were heatedly arguing over a piece of land. But as things progress, John is hit by the witch-hunting wave and unfortunately gets convicted. He is sentenced to hang thereby leaving Thomas with the resources to obtain the land.
As the plot of the play continues, it is evident that Elizabeth Proctor was the first victim of Abigail’s accusations. The underlying reason was that Elizabeth fired her from being the housekeeper and maid of the Proctors’ household. Abigail was furious about her dismissal from employment that she accused Elizabeth as one of the witches. But when Abigail was asked, she blatantly lied to Paris about her dismissal. Abigail lied that she instead was not willing to slave for the Proctors, especially Elizabeth. She puts Elizabeth in a bad light by telling her uncle that Elizabeth was a liar, a cold-hearted woman and that she hated her. Therefore, she couldn’t stand being her slave.
On the other hand, Martha Corey, the wife of Giles Corey was accused of being a witch. Walcott was the one who accused her. However, Giles quickly dismisses Walcott’s claims and explains that the only reason as to why Martha was being accused was because of a pig. Walcott had bought a pig from Martha, which later died in a short time. Since then, Walcott has never kept a pig alive. Giles continues to explain that Walcott went to court to claim that he cannot keep a pig alive for more than four weeks since Martha had bewitched them. The above scenario confirms that things were not as normal. The witch-hunt was more than what met the eye. It had now turned into a venture for citizens to settle scores and to profit from their counterpart’s misfortunes.
Aside from the normal feuds between neighbors and friends that propelled the accusations, there was a new motivation for the accusations. Where people were indifferent to some habits, cultures, and behaviors, they were culprits in these accusations. A good example is of John and Elizabeth Proctor. They were grilled about their church attendance by Reverend Hale, who even went to the extent of asking they could recite the Ten Commandments. Elizabeth had been unwell for some time and thus they had a valid reason. However, most people looked down upon them and believed they had a case to answer. This is the instance that the poppet and needle were found (planted by Abigail). This led to the arrest of Elizabeth.
With the five topics outlined and the sample “The crucible” essay, you’re now in a better position to tackle such a question should you get it in an assignment or paper.