Introductory paragraphs are hard. I always found that writing was easier once that paragraph was done and over with. The reason for that is the introductory paragraph guides so much of what is to come.
Your first step for any essay or paper is a thesis statement. That's the main point that you are going to write about. Figure that out before actually writing your introduction. You have a good start, because you have a narrow topic. What about Abigail's character do you want to focus on? Thinking about the play, I would aim your thesis toward making a claim that it is Abigail's love for John Proctor that causes her to continually accuse new victims. If that doesn't sound like the direction that you want to go, try a different thesis topic. Perhaps make the claim that Abigail's accusations and devious manipulations are representative of her power hungry nature. Whatever your thesis statement is, that is your last sentence of the introductory paragraph.
Your first sentence is the "attention getter." It needs to grab your reader's attention right away. If your first sentence doesn't do that, your reader doesn't want to continue reading. Don't give yourself a headache trying to come up with something amazing. There are five types of attention getting statements that are just about guaranteed to work.
- Ask a question. "Who is Abigail Williams?" or something like that.
- Make a bold statement of opinion. "Without Abigail Williams's influence, far fewer people would have died in Salem."
- Use a definition (I think this is weakest of the five).
- Use a quote from the text.
- Tell a story (not so good for written essays; very effective for speeches).
In between the attention getter and the thesis statement try to include some brief details that give your reader an overview of the plot of "The Crucible." Also include something about Abigail, since she is going to be the focus of your essay.
That takes care of your introduction. As for the body, make sure each paragraph supports the thesis statement. That's super important.
Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements / paper topics on “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller that can be used as essay starters. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in “The Crucible” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements for “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller offer a short summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the .
Need a Refresher? Click Here for a Detailed Act-by-Act Plot Summary of The CrucibleClick here for an analysis of how characters represent themes and thematic issues in The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Thesis Statement/Essay Topic #1: The Crucible as a Cautionary Tale
In the opening of Act One of “The Crucible”, Arthur Miller clearly establishes that this play is about the period in American history known as the Salem witch trials. Much has been made, however, out of the historical moment in which Arthur Miller wrote the play—the McCarthy era—and it has been argued that The Crucible was Miller’s attempt to come to terms with and understand contemporary social dynamics. If you agree that The Crucible is a cautionary tale, identify what it cautions the reader against, and how it suggests that society avert or prevent such a fate. State whether you agree that The Crucible is a timeless tale, or whether you think the relevance of The Crucible will fade over time.Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Analysis of the Introduction to Act One of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller
The genre of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” is, in a certain sense, a strict form that clearly delineates the role of the writer relative to the text. Miller challenges dramatic conventions somewhat by writing what might actually be considered a preface prior to the commencement of action in Act One. In this section, Arthur Miller situates “The Crucible” within its historical context, and he does not refrain from offering his own opinions about the Salem witch trials and their lasting social implications. This curious form of an introduction might, in fact, be the most important part of the play, for it explains the symbolic motivations that created the conditions that made the witch hunt possible, and, as Miller argues, such a witch hunt is not necessarily a relic of history. Write an essay in which you offer a thoughtful analysis of this introduction. Consider what meaning and insight it offers with respect to the larger narrative of this play, and consider how Miller’s motivations influence the reader’s interpretation of the play and its meaning.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Use of Fear Tactics in “The Crucible”
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.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: Power Dynamics in “The Crucible”
One of the important motifs worth examining in The Crucible is that of power: who has it, how they got it, how they use it, and for what ends. Select one or more characters (they can be powerful or powerless) and examine the ways in which the exercise their agency and authority or, in the case of someone powerless, struggle against their powerless position. Identify the role that certain institutions (including the courts and the church and religion) played in establishing and perpetuating the power dynamics that you have identified. Conclude with a statement about the use and abuse of power. Consider whether power could have been employed different for alternate outcomes and explain why different tactics were neither considered nor used.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5 Tragedy in “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller
Plays are generally classified into one of two categories: tragedies or comedies. Each of these two categories possesses a particular set of conventions and characteristics that can be used to identify plays as either a tragedy or a comedy. On the surface, The Crucible appears to be a tragedy. Decide whether you agree with this classification of the play. If you do, identify the elements of the play that render it tragic. If you do not agree that The Crucible is a tragedy, or if you feel that it is a hybrid, then defend your position with evidence drawn directly from the text. For help with this, be sure to look at the , Death of a Salesman, for similar themes.
Click here for an analysis of how characters represent themes and thematic issues in The Crucible by Arthur Miller