Many people believe that it’s a waste of time, but it really is important to plan your essay. Spending 5 or 6 minutes at the start of writing, gives you a chance to develop your initial ideas to the question. You should use the time to make 3-6 points related to the question. Chose your quotations carefully and show an understanding of the whole play. Remember the assessment objectives:

AO1 – respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations.

AO2 – explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings.

Here is a generic essay plan that could be used for planning responses to past questions: (You can click to enlarge)


Here are some completed examples, for essay questions about Abigail and John:





TOP TIP! If a question seems very broad, you can contextualise it yourself. In the examples above, they have chosen to show specific aspects of each character; Abigail in Act 1 and John’s relationships with women.


Can you think of other approaches to a question about John or Abigail – what else could you focus on?

Use the planning format to plan a response to one of these questions:

  • How do you respond to Miller’s presentation of Reverend Parris?
  • How does Arthur Miller create a sense of hysteria and panic in the play?
  • How do you respond to Miller’s presentation of Elizabeth?
  • How does Arthur Miller portray ideas about truth and justice in the play?
  • How do you respond to Arthur Miller’s presentation of Mary Warren?
  • How does Arthur Miller portray Puritan life and values in the play?