Evil Is The Exercise Of Power Essay
Honors English II
December 11, 2016
“Evil is the Exercise of Power”
Research pushes the boundaries of human understanding; in extreme circumstances, human behavior can be unpredictable and may lead to unexpected consequences. If someone is placed in a situation and they are granted power over another, they may resort to making that person feel inferior. One may think that there is a line dividing good and evil behavior, and good people never cross that line. The reality is that when good people are placed in a given circumstance of authority, power will corrupt. In 1971 at Stanford University, Dr. Philip Zimbardo conducted a study where he recruited over a dozen male students at the university to experience the role of a prisoner or a guard. The two week experiment tested the psychology of authority; having power and having power being taken away. The experiment took place in the campus basement and was transformed into a realistic county prison. The results were so shocking and horrific that it had to be ended after only 6 days because of the “inhumane conditions”(Bornus).
Zimbardo ended up not successfully completing what he set out to do. He set out to study, “what would happen when good people are placed in a bad situation”, and how they would react to the authority given (Hong). What was taken away from this inquiry was that students would adapt to different roles negatively and they would succumb to the power given the circumstance of the…