The Crucible Essay Prompts

Instructor: Wendy A. Garland

Wendy has a Ph.D. in Adult Education and a Master's Degree in Business Management. She has 10 years experience working in higher education.

This lesson includes essay topics from Arthur Miller's The Crucible. These prompts are arranged by topic and will help teachers design assignments and tests that reflect student understanding of the play.

Background

One of Arthur Miller's best known plays, The Crucible, premiered on Broadway in 1953. It is a direct criticism of the political climate in the U.S. at the time, namely Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee, and their excessive and unreasonable persecution of American citizens in name of uncovering communist threats.

However, Arthur Miller also covers topics and themes such as morality, social justice, history, and gender, all of which remain relevant to this day. He also used some rather clever plot devices which are worthy of attention. So with that in mind, let us have a look at some essay topics and delve deeper into the heart of The Crucible.

Essay Prompts: History

  • Discuss why Arthur Miller changed some historical facts about the Salem Witch Trials, and invented some others. Examine how these changes and inventions affect the play, and discuss their importance.
  • Discuss the Salem Witch Trials. Discuss its origins, and the social factors that prolonged it. Consider the fact that while there existed communists during Senator McCarthy's activities, there were no witches nor any witchcraft in Salem during the trials.
  • Discuss other historical events that resemble the Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism. Examine as expansive a timespan as you like, and give specific details to defend your examples. Remember, your examples do not have to be limited to politics.

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