The Crucible Research Paper Topics
Directions: Choose one of the following topics to write a research paper on. The paper
requirements include: MLA format, typed, at least four direct quotes from The Crucible in
addition to paraphrased material, at least four creditable sources quoted and paraphrased in
the paper, and a works cited page. This paper should be a minimum of 5 pages.
1. Research women in the 1950s (such as common attitude held about women, percent in
work force, average salary, feminist activity and literature) and compare the women
portrayed in The Crucible. Argue whether The Crucible presents women in a positive way
and supports feminist theories or reinforces stereotypes of the 1950s.
2. Irony is a very misunderstood concept that is often missed in literature. Miller uses
literary irony throughout "The Crucible" --- such as the fact that the one commandment
that Proctor can't remember is the one pertaining to his own sin: adultery. A greater
irony occurs when Elizabeth Proctor lies during the court proceedings to save her
husband, but only winds up condemning him to death. Write a research paper on the use
of irony in the play and how that use of irony conflicts with the confusion of irony with
coincidence, paradox or just plain bad luck.
3. Arthur Miller wrote "The Crucible" directly in response to the communist "witch hunt" of
the 1940s and 1950s led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. A research paper on this connection
can't add much more to what has already been written on the subject. Instead, try to
find a connection between modern-day America and the Salem witch hunts. Being a
member of the Communist Party was never a crime in America, yet many members lost
their jobs and their lives were ruined. Choose a group of people that you believe have
been the subject of a "witch hunt" of one kind or another and draw parallels between
them and the characters in the play. Try to find a group that has been targeted despite
not breaking any laws.
4. The play begins with rumors that the town has become plagued by witches of late, and
soon this rumor generates a fear that spreads faster than wildfire. The fear escalates to
such a dramatic degree that the dominant class must respond by quashing the supposed
witches with extreme strategies: the trials and subsequent burnings of witches. Carefully
examine how this fear escalates, identifying who the responsible parties are, what their
stakes were, and what tactics they used to escalate concern in their community. Propose
an argument and write an argumentative essay on "The Crucible" in which you state your
belief about the inevitability of the witch-hunt, and explain how the fear tactics
employed convinced otherwise rational people to believe very irrational ideas.
Works Cited (page)
1. This page is an alphabetical listing of all works that you actually CITE in your paper.
2. You must write them in PROPER MLA FORMAT.
3. You must list the play (your primary resource) and the film (if applicable) on the Works
4. You will have a minimum of five (or six, if using a film) entries on the Works Cited page; if
you use more resources, you must cite them in your paper and list them on this page.
5. All sources listed in your Works Cited page must also be cited within the body of the
text as you use them.
Do not use first person (“I”) or second person (“you”)
Do not write, “In this paper, I will discuss….”
Have a thesis statement and topic sentences.
This paper is not a book report, so avoid too much plot summary.
Use present tense when writing about the play. Example: “When Abigail accuses Elizabeth…”