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Here is one idea:
- A community's crisis is reflected and focused in a crisis of the individual.
This topic can include a number characters in the play. Hale, Elizabeth, and John Proctor may be the characters of principle concern, as they each experience a crisis of conscience and a test of their integrity that runs parallel with that of Salem as a town/community.
To build on some of the ideas in #2, I think that a good place to start is picking on any one of the many themes contained in this play. Then you can use that theme to build a thesis that you can defend. Certainly #4 I think makes a valid point by focussing on in some ways what is the simplest theme - that of the truth. But at the same time, it is one of the most complex. You can talk about the differences between the characters that do tell the truth throughout (and die for it) and those that do not, discussing the issue of personal integrity that is so central to this play.
The posts above offer some great ideas with which I concur. The Crucible really does lend itself to all kinds of writing opportunities. If I were writing I might consider a simple theme, such as the consequences of not telling the truth in all things. It's fairly generic, I know, but it's one of those truths which is true in this story and can be true in real life. Consider the lies told by the girls, Proctor, Elizabeth, Parris, Tituba, and others, no doubt. The consequences of those lies are death and destruction for an untold number of people.
Any thesis statement on any piece of literature should be "proveable." In other words, the thesis should be stated in such a way that the paper can provide textual evidence and support of the thesis.
Enotes has an excellent study guide on The Crucible that includes several suggested essay topics, where you can find well-crafted thesis statements: http://www.enotes.com/crucible/suggested-essay-topics.
This answer depends on the topic you truly want to write about. Are you writing a literary analysis paper, a persuasive paper, or an informative essay?
I find some of the most common topics in The Crucible tend to be greed, jealousy, lies, hysteria, hate, good and evil, legalism, and corruption.
A good thesis will include the title of the piece, the author, the topic, and briefly what you intend to demonstrate about the topic. Consider these models:
- Arthur Miller's timeless classic The Crucible demonstrates the fight between good and evil through an engaging plot, well-crafted characters, and a well-established theme.
- The Crucible intrigues audiences time and again because it infuses traits of the human condition that every generation contains.
- The Crucible remains important in society today because the hysteria portrayed in the Salem Witch Trials has potential to corrupt America again.
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