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Good And Evil Within Society Essay

1044 words - 5 pages

Society believes that when something is good or evil it is immutable, which is highly incorrect. A few characteristics society portrays as a clue of good can actually be greatly deceiving. Such as, appearance, reputation, and human nature. Many sources can support this, including: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, “Serial Killers, Evil, and Us,” and the interview with Philip Zimbardo titled “Why Do Good People Do Bad Things?”
Appearance tends to mask what a person’s true personality really is. That is what is first noticed about a person upon meeting, but it cannot always be trusted. For one example: serial killers. Ted Bundy was known as “dashingly handsome” (Simon 23), but he was also capable of abducting and murdering twenty-four women and committing nightmarish necrophilic acts with their bodies. Society likes to think that if someone seems friendly they are much more likely to be just that, while people who look evil at first glance are interpreted to be cruel or evil. In NPR, Philip Zimbardo talks about his mock prison and how he carefully selected people who were classified as normal. He made the guards in charge of what happened that at the prison, and they would punish them according to how they saw fit. Zimbardo stated that he conducted this experiment because “that line between good and evil, which privileged people like to think is fixed and impermeable. With them on the good side and others on the bad side, [he] knew that line was movable and it was permeable.”(NPR) This was proven in the experiment; the guards were cruel and humiliated the ‘prisoners’... some of which may have been their own classmates. One of the cruelest acts these ‘guards’ committed was when it was another prisoner’s birthday. The prisoners were to strip naked and put on a blindfold, and for the next thirty-six hours they sang Happy Birthday to him, only using his prison number.(NPR) Mere boredom and power allowed this change to happen within them. These guards were carefully selected before they went in there, to make sure they were not already cruel people. After this experiment had started, Philip Zimbardo’s thesis was confirmed.
A person’s reputation cannot characterize how good or evil a person is. If the culprit is truly worried about how his reputation may be damaged he is able to use anonymity to get away with the crime. As Philip Zimbardo stated in his NPR interview that: “God’s favorite angel was Lucifer.” This tie goes back to the bible, of which billions of people read. A massive example as to how someone’s reputation can be greatly deceiving. John Wayne Gacy was known as a kind man who dressed up as a clown and voluntarily visited sick children in the hospital. He even took a photograph with First Lady Rosalyn Carter. (Simon 23) His reputation was astounding, yet it was ruined after his acts were discovered. John Wayne Gacy “rap[ed],...

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