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Inherent Evil In Mankind Essay

999 words - 4 pages

Evil lies within all human beings. People may seem good and kind-hearted, but under the right conditions the evil within them reveals itself. In those circumstances they take actions which violate their morals. As shown in Milgram's Study of Obedience and Golding's Lord of the Flies, all people are confronted with new situations, or figures of authority that force them into performing actions they can not control.As a psychologist at Yale University, Stanley Milgram conducted a revealing experiment to show how obedience to a higher authority could defy personal conscience and expose the dark side all human beings have. In this experiment he tested the willingness of his subjects to obey authority figures who pushed them into performing acts that differed from their personal values. (Zimbardo) The end results were shocking. After taking polls from college students, psychiatrists and middle class adults, their predictions remained constant. They predicted that essentially all the subjects would refuse to continue to the end; but they were wrong. Although the subjects knew that the 450 volt shock could do great damage, sixty percent of them obeyed the scientist's orders to continue all the way to the 450 shock.How could they administer such high amounts of electricity while knowing the harmful effects it had? If an outside bystander watched this experiment, they could not comprehend how anyone in their right mind could do such a horrible thing. But it is all situational. Only under the right circumstances could something like this happen. The subjects applying the shocks are not at all evil, but merely normal human beings caught in the trap following orders of authority. The role the authority plays is essential in that they encourage the participants to "keep going" or guilt them by saying "you must continue on with the experiment". With out this key aspect, they would not have the drive to complete the task knowing how horrible the outcome could be. Even with screams of pain ringing in their ears and complaints that the shocks were too unbearable to keep going, they were encouraged to continue. More often then not, they proceeded with the shocks. These actions were not taken because they wanted to. The authority "forced" them to and they could not stand up against it. The results of Milgram's study showed that aspects of obedience can very well impact how people act. But it does not depict how they behave in normal situations in their everyday lives. Under those specific circumstances where their evil side is exposed, they act in ways that violate their personal conscience. This is shown over and over in Golding's Lord of the Flies when not long after landing on the island; they evolve from innocent young boys to savage beasts.The theme of inherent evil in mankind is reflected throughout Golding's Lord of the Flies. He shows this by revealing symbols, themes and eventually the conflicts caused by the sinful nature of...

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