Conscience

Paper Rating: Word Count: 1468 Approx Pages: 6

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. Abigail says to John, "I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretence Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot!" The girls dance in the woods and cast spells, something distinctly forbidden by theocratic law. This is why Abigail seizes the opportunity before her at the beginning of the play: she sees the witch “hunt as a means for her to work herself around the conscience of the Church and all its restrictions, and instead establish her own idea of right and wrong. While the theocracy was established for the... Continue Reading