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What makes us humans different from elephants, snakes or chimps besides our shape? We have consciences, of course. Conscience is the awareness of right and wrong. In the Crucible, the idea of conscience in strongly emphasized. Miller himself said, "No critic seemed to sense what I was after [which was] the conflict between a man's raw deeds and his conception of himself; the question of whether conscience is in fact an organic part of the human being, and what happens when it is handed over not merely to the state or the mores of the time but to one's friend or wife." The idea of conscience in the play The Crucible is based very much on Christian concepts, firstly the idea of morality, or conscience of right and wrong, secondly the idea of the confession of sin, and finally the idea of guilt and penance for sins. Conscience and authority ... a heart or a head response? I believe that authority and the law should only apply where the conscience fails, that is when the appearance of right and wrong is tainted. Personal conscience and reason should be the final authority. First, at the start of the book, we see that the people of Salem have already begun to strain under this strict idea of conscience, this repression. Abigai

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