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"First they came for the Communists,
- but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
- but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews,
- but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."
Although this poem by Martin Niemoller speaks about the failure of good people to act soon enough against the Nazis, it could also apply to the characters of Salem Village in Arthur Miller's play, "The Crucible" and also about the instigators and victims of McCarthyism, which the play purports to expose.
Some ways to make an interesting introduction:
Use a famous quotation or one from the work itself
Use an arresting statement
Begin with a question
Use an interesting fact that few might know about
It also depends on what kind of essay you are writing. Is it a character analysis? Expository? Persuasive? If you're writing a persuasive essay, you really want an attention getter that will get the reader brought in and hopefully, questioning something and then eventually getting on your side.
If it's a character analysis essay, start with something pertaining to something about people in general, i.e., "One common characteristic of societies throughout history is the fear of the unknown. Humans by nature are weary of that which is different, and the actions of Puritans during the events that transpired in The Crucible are no different. Many characters were forced into horrible situations where their morals, beliefs, and overall faith were put to the test. This is what happened to John and Elizabeth Proctor when they were accused of witchcraft."
If it's an expository essay, then a quote would be a good way to start. HOWEVER, I warn my students that this is an opening strategy that is overly done and frankly has become common. If you want to use a quote, just make sure it's a really good one that is insightful and that perhaps would not be typically chosen.
It's difficult to help you with an attention getter without knowing the specific topic of your essay--what aspect of "The Crucible" are you writing about?
You can always start your essay with a quote--either from the play or from another source. Just make sure you explain where the quote is from and connect it to your topic. If you use a quote, the second sentence of your introduction may be to explain the quote or explain how to relates to your topic.
You may look up what some critics have had to say about "The Crucible" and show how that relates to your topic. Make sure you show where you got the quote.
Another good attention getter is a story, also called an anecdote. It can be funny, serious, true or made up, but should somehow relate to your topic--present the problem you're going to attempt to solve, or the problem you're going to take a stance on.
Another one I've seen work well is taking a well known saying ("Absence makes the heart grow fonder" or "Don't count your chickens before they hatch") and show how your topic either supports or opposes the adage. Similar to using a quote...
Other attention getters include a startling/shocking fact or statement ("There is no such thing as truth"), a definition of a central concept ("truth", "justice") or a statistic. I don't know how well these would work for your essay.
In the 1950s, in The Land Of The Free, lies and rumours could get you in big, big, BIG trouble; it was a modern-day witch-hunt.
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