Analysis Of Philip Zimbardo's The Psychology Of Evil

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The definition of evil is the “exercise of power” (“The Psychology of Evil”), according to psychologist Philip Zimbardo. In consonance with this definition, people execute an evil act “to intentionally harm people psychologically, to hurt people physically, to destroy people mortally, or ideas, and to commit crimes against humanity” (Zimbardo, “The Psychology of Evil”). Based on this, evil is committed with the intention to inflict harm on people and the environment. The incentive to perform evil acts, moreover, derives from the internal sentiments of an individual, the external environment encasing the individual, and the way that individual exerts these characteristics on others and on his or her surroundings. To begin with, people are inclined …show more content…
These sentiments primarily tend to be fear communal through various people, which arises from the interactions with other humans and the environment. Fear is a prominent emotion in the killing of Simon from Lord of the Flies, explicitly when the boys misinterpret Simon for the beast. The emotions present in the dance before Simon’s death include fear, anxiety, and solidarity, all of which Golding distinctly conveys, “Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society. They were glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror and made it governable” (Lord of the Flies 152). This displays that evil, in this instance, the murdering of Simon, comes forth through one’s emotions in a given situation. Piggy and Ralph felt apprehensive about the storm, so they willingly joined Jack and his tribe in the dance. Due to a shared fear of the beast and the storm, a feeling of cohesion was formed, which ultimately caused Simon’s death. Golding explores this idea of united fear and emotions in his other work, “When people are afraid, they discover the violence within them and when they are afraid together they discover that the violence within them can be almost bottomless” (“Why Boys Become Vicious”). This indicates that malicious acts transpire from a common feeling of fear that is prevalent within …show more content…
These influences include the environment one is present in, whether it be from childhood or the current, the emotions one has in a situation, and the way the emotions one feels is applied to the environment and the people within the environment. Evil, furthermore, becomes provoked when sentiments of fear grows in an individual and a group of people, like when the boys in Lord of the Flies become united by fear and kill Simon; an absence of parental guidance in one’s youth, like the two ten-year-old Liverpool boys who murdered a two-year-old; and the violent assertion of authority dominance, such as the guards in the Stanford Prison

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