Possible Topics for The Crucible

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

1. Which character in the play best exhibits guts and stability, and in what methods?

2. The causes of the witch-craft hysterias include numerous things: revenge, jealousy, greed, power (the previously helpless accusers suddenly gained overall power), sexual repression, guilt and embarassment and the requirement to admit one’s sins, the need to blame others for one’s own miseries … choose a character who sees and acknowledges all these true intentions and argue that of all the play’s characters, this character shows one of the most insight into the source of the hysteria and also into humanity.

Think about: Proctor, Hale, Rebecca Nurse.

3. A more highly evolved thinker is somebody who can, in part, go beyond dichotomies (or, Dualism, an easy way of dividing the world into paired revers, such as black-white, night-day, good-evil). Which character, of all of the characters in the play, comes closest to being able to see beyond simplistic, Dualistic thinking? Think about: Proctor, Elizabeth, Martha and Giles Corey, Reverend Hale.

4. Argue that if the large majority of Puritans in Salem had not had a Dualistic way of viewing the world– that is, they all went beyond dichotomous mindsets– that the witchcraft trials would never ever have actually taken place. Do this by demonstrating how main their Dualistic method of viewing the world was to the witch-hunts and trials.

5. Redemption is a common style of a great deal of religious, especially Christian, stories and Christian-influenced cultures. Which characters in the play look for redemption, and how do they tackle it? Who in fact finds it? (Redemption is when someone has actually done something bad, and compensates, or offsets, the bad things to ‘redeem’ their soul, or character, to make themselves– if not pure– at least, better than they were, to ‘balance the scales’ again). Keep in mind that confession is a substantial part of the process of redemption for many Christians, but that the Puritans did not have confessionals in their churches, as prevails among Catholics. Think about: Proctor, Hale, Elizabeth.

6. Who amongst all the characters best fits with the meaning of a ‘person of tomorrow’?

Twelve characteristics of ‘The Person of Tomorrow’ (according to Carl Rogers, cited in An Introduction to Theories of Personality, Fourth Edition, by B.R. Hergenhahn)

1. An openness to both inner and outer experience. 2. A rejection of hypocrisy, deceit, and double talk. In other words, a desire for authenticity. 3. A skepticism toward the kind of science and technology that has as its goal the conquest of nature or the control of people. 4. A desire for wholeness. For example, equal recognition and expression of the intellect and the emotions. 5. A wish for shared purpose in life or intimacy.

6. A tendency to embrace change and risk-taking with enthusiasm. 7. A gentle, subtle, non-moralistic, nonjudgmental caring. 8. A feeling of closeness to, and a caring for, nature. 9. Antipathy for any highly structured, inflexible, bureaucratic institution. They believe that institutions should exist for the people, not the other way around. 10. A tendency to follow the authority of their own organismic valuing process. 11. An indifference toward material comfort and rewards.

12. A desire to seek a meaning in life greater than the individual—spiritual yearning.

7. Pick a character whose choices throughout the play show how he or she morally changed, and explain how that character’s social and moral choices helped him or her to grow and change.

Your Essay’s Basic Outline:

I. Introduction. 1. Write your thesis here, and include this phrase: “In Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible”:

2. Now write (in brief) what the three main points that support your thesis are (do not write your actual topic sentences, but just mention what those sentences will be about). Do that here:

II. First Body Paragraph 1. Here, write your actual topic sentence:

2. (skip item 2 and do item 3 first and then come back to this later) Write your set-up (context) for the quotation:

3. Write the page number and the quotation you will use here:

4. Now go back and write the set-up for the quotation (item 2). Then come back to this item and write the sentence explaining why that quotation is significant, how it proves your topic sentence and thesis. Do that here:

5. Now write the sentence where you say how the quotation proved the topic sentence that supports your overall thesis. Do that here:

III. Second Body Paragraph

1. Here, write your actual topic sentence:

2. (skip item 2 and do item 3 first and then come back to this later) Write your set-up (context) for the quotation:

3. Write the page number and the quotation you will use here:

4. Now go back and write the set-up for the quotation (item 2). Then come back to this item and write the sentence explaining why that quotation is significant, how it proves your topic sentence and thesis. Do that here:

5. Now write the sentence where you say how the quotation proved the topic sentence that supports your overall thesis. Do that here:

IV. Third Body Paragraph

1. Here, write your actual topic sentence:

2. (skip item 2 and do item 3 first and then come back to this later) Write your set-up (context) for the quotation:

3. Write the page number and the quotation you will use here:

4. Now go back and write the set-up for the quotation (item 2). Then come back to this item and write the sentence explaining why that quotation is significant, how it proves your topic sentence and thesis. Do that here:

5. Now write the sentence where you say how the quotation proved the topic sentence that supports your overall thesis. Do that here:

V. Conclusion

1. Now re-write your thesis statement from your introduction here that communicates the same idea but using different words.

2. Re-list the three examples you gave in your introduction, in the order in which you addressed them in your body paragraphs (list the example from your first body paragraph first, then the example from your second body paragraph second, and the example from your third body paragraph last).

Exemplar Outline for The Crucible

I. Introduction. Thesis: “In Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, social inequalities led to struggles for power in the time of the Salem witch-hunts, with tragic (fatal) results.” Examples: social class, gender and age (Abby and the girls), race (Tituba), social class (Goody Osburn). II. Body Paragraph. Topic Sentence: “In Salem of the 1690’s, all children—especially girls—were essentially powerless, even more so if they were poor; these inequalities led directly to Abigail and the other girls’ ruthlessly exploiting the only opportunity they had to gain power in their society: through accusations of witchcraft.” Alternative: “Those who had been denied power in Salem—poor servant girls—got a taste of it by accusing others of witchcraft, and, power-drunk, became addicted to it: their society gave them no power at all, at first, then gave them absolute power which corrupted them absolutely.”

Examples: From Miller’s description of Parris, “Until this strange crisis he, like the rest of Salem, never conceived that the children were anything but thankful for being permitted to walk straight, eyes slightly lowered, arms at the sides, and mouths shut until bidden to speak” (3). The way Proctor treats Mary Warren; Proctor says to Mary Warren, “Be you foolish, Mary Warren? Be you deaf? I forbid you leave the house, did I not?” Mary Warren says, “I only come to see the great doings in the world.” Proctor says, “I’ll show you a great doin’ on your arse one of these days. Now get you home; my wife is waitin’ with your work!” (20). When Proctor goes to whip her, Mary Warren says, “I saved her [Elizabeth’s] life today!” (56). Her newfound power is shown when she says, “I am bound by law, I cannot tell it. I only hope you’ll not be so sarcastical no more.

Four judges and the King’s deputy sat to dinner with us but an hour ago. I—I would have you speak civilly to me” (57)…. and when she says “I’ll not be ordered to bed no more, Mr. Proctor! I am eighteen and a woman, however single!” (57). The new-found power of the accusers, now at the center of attention: Proctor says, “Is the accuser always holy now? Were they born this morning as clean as God’s fingers? … We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!” (73). Danforth says, “Do you know, Mr. Proctor, that the entire contention of the state in these trials is that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children?” (82). Elizabeth says, “Abigail brings the other girls into the court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel. And folks are brought before them, and if they scream and howl and fall to the floor—the person’s clapped in the jail for bewitchin’ them” (50).

III. Body Paragraph Topic Sentence w/ Elaboration: “Racism also played a role in forcing Tituba, an accused witch, to participate in the hysteria. As a black woman slave, she had to do what her master Reverend Parris commanded, and so in the guise of ‘confessing’ what he and other whites so clearly wanted to hear, she was also able to express her hatred of her oppressor by attributing it to the Devil, and also exercise some power over white people, things she otherwise could never have safely done.” Examples: “Tituba … is also very frightened because her slave sense has warned her that, as always, trouble in this house eventually lands on her back” (8). Abigail says, “She made me do it! She made Betty do it!” (40). Abigail says, “She makes me drink blood!” (41).

Tituba says, “You beg me to conjure! She beg me make charm—” (41). Parris says, “You will confess yourself or I will take you out and whip you to your death, Tituba!” (42). Putnam says, “This woman must be hanged! She must be taken and hanged!” (42). Putnam says, “Sarah Good? Did you ever see Sarah Good with him [the Devil]? Or Osburn?” (43). Hale says, “You have confessed yourself to witchcraft, and that speaks a wish to come to Heaven’s side. And we will bless you, Tituba” (43). Hale says, “You are God’s instrument put in our hands to discover the Devil’s agents among us. You are selected, Tituba, you are chosen to help us cleanse our village” (44). TITUBA. Oh, how many times he bid me kill you, Mr. Parris! … He say Mr. Parris must be kill! Mr. Parris no goodly man, Mr. Parris mean man and no gentle man, and he bid me rise out of my bed and cut your throat! … And then he come one stormy night to me, and he say, ‘Look! I have white people belong to me.’ And I look—and there was Goody Good … Aye, sir, and Goody Osburn. (44) IV. Body Paragraph Topic Sentence w/ Elaboration: “Lastly, inequalities in social class played a huge role in the hysterias.

Those who were middle class might be accused by those jealous of their rise in social stature, or because a wealthier person (like Putnam) could afford to buy the forfeited property of the ‘witch’ once s/he had hanged, but the easiest targets for false accusations of witchcraft were those who were very poor, like Goody Osburn. Salem’s poor became victims of false accusations because these victims, as social outcasts and undesirables (or, nuisances) would not be missed.” Examples: Mary Warren says, “Goody Osburn—will hang! …

When she come into the court I say to myself, I must not accuse this woman, for she sleep in ditches, and so very old and poor. But then—” [and describes how Goody Osburn sent her spirit out on her] (54). Mary Warren says, “So many time, Mr. Proctor, she come to this very door, beggin’ bread and a cup of cider—and mark this: whenever I turned her away empty, she mumbled” (55). V. Conclusion Restatement of thesis: “Inequalities in Salem in terms of age, gender, race, and social class made the witch-hunts possible. Those who had been denied any power in their society were suddenly able to become all-powerful through accusing others of witchcraft: often, they targeted those even less powerful than themselves.” Examples: Abby and the girls accuse Tituba, Tituba accuses a white woman of low social class (Goody Osburn), who Mary Warren (a servant girl) also accuses.

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