Mere Christianity


C. S. Lewis

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The Piano Symbol Analysis

The Piano Symbol Icon

At many points in the first part of the book, Lewis uses the symbol of a piano to describe the relationship between humanity and moral law. He argues that the relationship between human instinct and moral law is like the relationship between notes on a piano and sheet music—no instinct is “right” or “wrong” one hundred percent of the time, just as no note on a piano is always right or wrong, either. Notes, like instincts, are guided and controlled by the overarching authority of moral law (sheet music). In all, the piano symbolizes the different levels of human morality: our specific behaviors, our instincts to obey or disobey moral law, and the moral law itself.

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The Piano Symbol Timeline in Mere Christianity

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Piano appears in Mere Christianity. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 2: Some Objections
Morality, Religion, and Reason Theme Icon
...would be like saying that a sheet of music is the same thing as a piano key. (full context)
Morality, Religion, and Reason Theme Icon
Good, Evil, and Free Will Theme Icon
...that was always moral. By the same token, there is no such thing as a piano key that is right or wrong 100 percent of the time—sometimes a key can be... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 2: The Three-Personal God
Christianity and the Two Kinds of “Life” Theme Icon
Christian theology teaches that when humans die and go to Heaven, they become part of God, and yet also remain separate from... (full context)