|The Crucible in-class topics Name __________________
CP English III – Mr. Gotliffe Date _______ Period ______
Below are possible topics for an in-class essay you will write on The Crucible. At the beginning of class you will receive a prompt with topics on it, and you will choose one of them to write about. The essay must consist of at least four paragraphs (intro, conclusion, and at least two body paragraphs), although it may be longer if necessary. You must use as much specific detail from the play as possible, including a minimum of two direct quotes.
It is important to be prepared; you will have a much easier time with the essay if chart out a plan of attack and pick out quotes to use for each essay topic ahead of time...
1. One of the reasons Arthur Miller wrote this play to comment on the movement in the 1950’s led by senator Joe McCarthy to seek and identify members of the Communist Party that he felt were trying to overthrow the government. This movement ruined many innocent people because of its drive to seek what it thought to be the truth no matter who was hurt in the process. Write about another historical event that might be considered similar to this one and compare it to the Salem Witch Hunt. Make sure you use specific details from both the play and from the historical event you choose. Some possibilities:
2. As the action heats up, some of the characters in The Crucible stay the same, but a few of them change. Write a detailed character study on one of the play’s dynamic characters who undergoes some sort of change from the beginning of the play to the end.
3. At the end of the play, Reverend Hale insists that John Proctor’s design to hang instead of admitting that he was consorting with the devil is an act of excessive pride or stubbornness. As the old saying goes, sometimes people do "bite off their nose to spite their face." Do you think that Proctor’s last act was an act of excessive pride or honor? Were his actions foolish or noble? Please explain you choice.
4. Preserving one’s reputation is a prevalent theme in The Crucible. Examine three characters in detail who are concerned with their reputations. How does this affect how they act? How are their situations similar or different? Is a good name more important than the truth?
5. Two characters in a literary work who serve as contrasts to each other are called foils. With this term in mind, explain how either Abigail and Elizabeth or Danforth and Hale serve as foils for each other. What character traits do each have which makes them foils for the other? How are these characters different? Do they change as the play progresses?
6. How much is Abigail to blame for the events that took place? Is she a victim of her society in The Crucible? What events in her past and present influence her behavior? Can she excused or pardoned because outside forces “made” her the way she is? Why or why not?