Critique of "Perils of Obedience"

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Gergely Nemeth

Critique of "Perils of Obedience"

The passage “Perils of Obedience” presents an experiment designed by Stanley Milgram, a Yale psychologist, in which people were tested either to violate their conscience by obeying the immoral demands of an authority figure or to refuse them. At the beginning of the experiment, Yale undergraduate students were used as subjects, and about 60 percent of them were fully obedient. A colleague of Milgram assured him  “ When ‘ordinary’ people were tested, the results would be quite different ” (279). They started new researches on “ordinary” people and the result was the same. According to Milgram’s research we should realize that although society values such ideals as “ individualism” and “freedom,” it is often difficult for people to live up to their own standards in the face of group pressures.

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According to the author, “Obedience is as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to” (276). Milgram decided to study and analyze how people would react toward a situation where they had to obey even knowing they would hurt a person whom they didn’t know.

I think the reason of the result of this research is that people like to please authority. People in general like the feeling they get when they are doing a good job. Even though they know what they are doing is morally wrong, the way they tried to ...

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

First of all the writer has not fully explained Milgram's experiment. It would have been helpful to give a background to the experiment first and then to go on to describe how the experiment was carried out and for what purpose. The writer could have also objectively critiqued the experiment. Unfortunately, the essay is so basic and lacking in any real detail that this is reflected in the score. However, this could be improved with further research and taking the comments on board. Score 2*