Possible topics include:

  • Further exploration of the comparison between the student's historical figure and its dramatic counterpart. In a well-argued analysis, show the reader how Miller works with a historical figure to make him or her a compelling, dynamic, dramatic figure. Point to examples from history and from the play text.

  • How or why does The Crucible still speak to audiences today? If you are particularly savvy about current events, you could begin with Miller's own quotation (below) and spin a paper off from it.
    • I am not sure what "The Crucible" is telling people now, but I know that its paranoid center is still pumping out the same darkly attractive warning that it did in the fifties. For some, the play seems to be about the dilemma of relying on the testimony of small children accusing adults of sexual abuse, something I'd not have dreamed of forty years ago. For others, it may simply be a fascination with the outbreak of paranoia that suffuses the play—the blind panic that, in our age, often seems to sit at the dim edges of consciousness. Certainly its political implications are the central issue for many people; the Salem interrogations turn out to be eerily exact models of those yet to come in Stalin's Russia, Pinochet's Chile, Mao's China, and other regimes . . . . But below its concerns with justice the play evokes a lethal brew of illicit sexuality, fear of the supernatural, and political manipulation . . . . (p. 164).
      Arthur Miller on The Crucible
      The New Yorker (v. 72, Oct. 21 & 28, 1996)

  • Analysis of The Crucible as an American tragedy with John Proctor as an American tragic hero.

  • Pretend that you are a playwright who has a keen interest in history. Tonight is the night that your writers' group meets to discuss individual projects. Your goal is to present to your group your idea for dramatizing a past event—it may be a recent current event. Describe, in writing, why you think the event would make good drama and how you would dramatize it. Be sure to think carefully about story, conflict, character, and resolution