Does the drama within The Crucible centre on the conflict between individual morality and external authority?

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The Crucible explores the conflict between individual morality and external authority rather thoroughly so there are a good number of examples to examine in a written response to this prompt. 

John Proctor is the best example of the conflict between individual morality and external authority. At the end of the play, Proctor is prepared to sacrifice his own morality and his integrity so that he can live to see his children grow up. His decision to save himself by giving up his integrity would side him with the authorities who have condemned many people of Salem to death. 

We see in his poignant example a direct opposition between individual morality and external authority. 

 In Proctor's final recantation of his confession and his refusal to put his principles aside to save his life, we see the triumph of personal integrity in a world of moral uncertainty.

Reverend Hale provides another good example of this conflict as he realizes what is happening in Salem. At first he feels morally compelled to take part in the accusations and the meting out of death as justice but later comes to believe that the trials are a fraud. When he realizes this, his personal sense of morality forces him into a difficult decision. Should he go along with the trials to justify the death sentences already carried out? Should he speak up and risk being accused himself? 

Hale embodies many of the moral contradictions of the play: he is a man of integrity who, although at times misguided and overzealous, is willing to change his mind when confronted with the truth.

His strife, like Proctor's, can be described as a conflict between his own morality and the pressure of the external authority. Unlike Proctor, Hale is unable to place his integrity and morality above that of the group, though he knows the judgment of the group to be completely wrong. 

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