8 Crucible Essay Topics That Will Surely Come in Handy

One of the most famous plays in American literary cannon is the Crucible, which is a 1953 play written by none other than American Author Arthur Miller, who has man plays and works of art to his name. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, it talks about the Salem, with trials and what happened there.

  1. Consider the historical context of the Salem Witch Trials. What was going on in the village, and what place did it have in history? How accurate is Miller's presentation of events? Is historical accuracy one of the major goals?
  2. Miller was said to have written the play as an allegory of current day McCarthyism, which was at its height at the time Miller wrote the play. Is this true? What was McCarthyism and what did it have to do with the context in which Miller wrote the play.
  3. Arthur Miller was actually questioned himself by the Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956, and was convicted of contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives. Might this very personal experience have shaped The Crucible? What other events in Miller's life might have influence the novel?
  4. The events of The Crucible do seem to be rather out there. Surely, it is not possible for everyday people to be caught up in such hysteria. After all, those people still believed in witches. Alternatively, is that not really the case? In any case, are there any modern day events that can be likened to the allegory present in this novel?
  5. The Reverend Parris is one of the major characters in the play. What role does he have to play, and why did Miller choose specifically to make him a reverend? What kind of person does he represent, and why is this important?
  6. The Crucible using a lot of religious imagery. What is the purpose of invoking religion in this way? In what different contexts does Miller use this imagery, and why is this important to the story and its point?
  7. Many people die in the novel. What does this novel have to say about death and the role of death in our lives? Many of these deaths would have been very preventable, but things do get out of hand. What does this have to do with the arbitrariness of fate?
  8. Consider the major characters of the novel. Many of them are victims, but could the mob that runs the trials be victims as well? They are after all scared and want to protect their facilities. Explore victim-hood in the novel and how it expresses itself.