Obedience Essay

1300 Words6 Pages
A Comparative Critique of “The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal: A Source of Sadism” and “The Perils of Obedience” How do we respond to authority? Obedience is defined as dutiful or submissive behavior with respect to another person or group of people. It is usually referred to as a positive aspect, but in the case of “The Perils of Obedience” by Stanley Milgram, in which obedience to authority causes other people harm, it can easily be argued as an extremely negative factor. Stanley Milgram, a psychology professor at Yale University conducted an experiment to see if participants would either violate their conscience by obeying the immoral demands of an authority figure or refuse those demands. In “The Perils of Obedience”, Milgram was trying to prove a point that shows how far someone will go to be obedient to the authority. He began this experiment using three subjects: the experimenter, the teacher, and the learner, but only the teacher was clueless about what they were about to partake in. The teacher would read out a series of words, and the learner, who was strapped to an electric chair, was required to remember the words that were associated to each other (215). When asked, if the learner gave the wrong answer, the teacher was required to give them an electric shock of “fifteen to four hundred fifty volts” (215). Although the teacher did not know it, the learner was actually an actor pretending to be in extreme pain when given the electrical shock to persuade the teacher to want to discontinue the experiment (215). However, in the article “The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal: Sources of Sadism” written by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak provides the readers with accurate descriptions of how people obey commands, no matter what the consequences are. Szegedy-Maszak writes about the American military people who took the Iraqi detainees to the Abu Ghraib Prison. At the Abu Ghraib
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