You might also relate the goings on in the play to the goings on in Miller's life. If you recall, he also adapted Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People" at this time. It was the era of the McCarthy hearings, and Miller found himself in the middle of them. He felt that Senator McCarthy was involved in a witchhunt for Communists, and picked this period in American history to cause his audiences to see the relationship between witch hunting in the colonies and Communist hunting in the 1950's. You could write an interesting essay comparing/contrasting these two times in our history.
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Writing an essay for "The Crucible," could be focused on the witchcraft hysteria that dominated the town of Salem in 1692 resulting in the deaths of innocent people. You could focus in on John Proctor, the main character, and how the events in the story create conflict for him. Discuss his internal conflict, concerning his guilt about his affair with Abigail Williams, his sense of shame. External conflicts include his refusal to get involved with the witchcraft hysteria. His conflict with his wife, with Abigail, with his neighbors.
You can write about the nature of humanity that is revelaed in this play. People use the witch trials and accusations to get back at their neighbors, anyone who has an argument with a neighbor seems to use the witchcraft hysteria to exercise a grudge. Abigail Williams uses the trials to try to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor so that she can have John Proctor for herself. She accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft.
Also, the Putnams', both Ann and Thomas. Ann Putnam accuses Rebecca Nurse of somehow killing her seven infants because she is jealous of her. Rebecca Nurse has many children and grandchildren, but when Ann Putnam accuses her, she is arrested and later put to death.
Thomas Putnam uses the opportunity to buy up the land of those who are accused. Particularly George Jacobs, his neighbor who owns property next to his. He makes his daughter Ruth accuse Jacobs of witchcraft.
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