Sample Essay Outlines

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

The following paper topics are based on the entire play. Following each topic is a thesis and sample outline. Use these as a starting point for your paper.

  • Topic #1
    One of the most prominent themes in The Crucible is the importance of a good name. Analyze what a good name means to several of the characters, using specific examples to support your conclusions.

    I. Thesis Statement: One central motif of The Crucible is the importance of a good name. The meaning of a good name to John Proctor at the end of the play, however, is vastly different from the good name that Reverend Parris seeks.

    II. A good name as pride and reputation
    A. Reverend Parris
    B. Judge Danforth

    III. A good name as goodness
    A. Rebecca Nurse
    B. Elizabeth Proctor

    IV. A good name as individuality and moral integrity
    A. John Proctor
    B. Reverend Hale

    V. The naming of names

  • Topic #2
    The Crucible is vitally concerned with the presentation of truth. Show how truth is portrayed in the play and how various characters show their true natures.

    I. Thesis Statement: The judges of Salem are not concerned with seeking the truth and justice, but with maintaining their authority and reputations. This goal leads them to consistently reject truth, against all logic and evidence of their senses.

    II. Symbols of truth
    A. Elizabeth Proctor
    B. Rebecca Nurse
    C. John Proctor

    III. Symbols of falsehood
    A. Reverend Parris
    B. Abigail

    IV. Hale’s reaction to the truth
    A. On first arriving in Salem
    B. At the end of the play

    V. Danforth’s reaction to the truth
    A. Giles Corey’s evidence
    B. Mary Warren’s confession
    C. John Proctor’s reason

  • Topic #3
    There are many examples of authority in The Crucible. It is tempting for a contemporary reader to accept John Proctor’s choice of following only the authority of his conscience, but whose response does The Crucible support as the true model of authority?

    I. Thesis Statement: While authority stems from many different sources and is responded to in many ways, The Crucible supports the response of Rebecca Nurse as the true model.

    II. The authority of the written word
    A. The Bible
    B. Hale’s books on witchcraft

    III. The authority of the church leaders
    A. Reverend Parris
    B. Reverend Hale

    IV. The authority of the court
    A. Judge Danforth
    B. Judge Hathorne

    V. The authority of individual conscience
    A. John Proctor

    VI. Rebecca Nurse’s response
    A. Respect for outward authority
    B. True to her conscience

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Critical Context (Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Literature Series)