Critique of "Perils of Obedience"
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 justify themselves is by verbally disagreeing. A lot of people do not have the ability to disobey authority.
The reason I don’t totally agree with the author is that all these people were forced somehow to continue the process. Another reason people obey is that they have a sense of obligation to their duty. This is just the whole idea of completing the job that’s given to you. Some people have a fear of being perceived as brash, or rude. In general, people want to present themselves in the best way possible. If there hadn’t been an experimenter standing behind the teachers, some of them would have stopped the research.
The ordinary people were always used to that someone was giving them orders. As a child we have the parents, later in school we have the teachers and after getting a job we have supervisors above us. We were always told what to do, that is why, according to Milgram, “ We are proud of doing a good job, obeying the experimenter under difficult circumstances ” (285).
Stanley Milgram’s research was effective, but I would have continued the same research with other circumstances. Instead of doing the experiment with one individual only, I would have also done the experiment with a group of people. I think they would have resisted much sooner, and would have stopped the research.
Work Cited Page:
Milgram Stanley “Perils of Obedience” Writing and Reading in the Disciplines : A
custom Edition for University of Memphis English Department. Eds. Laurence B.
et al. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2000. 275 – 288.
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*