ENGL 1123 P18
8 March 2013
Unlimited Power Changes Everyone and a Role Defines Behavior
Sir William Jones was a translator for many years, but after working so hard he gained power and became a Supreme Court judge, he once quoted: “My opinion is that power should always be distrusted; in whatever hands it is placed.” Power is often express as the ability to influence the behavior of people with or without resistance. In the article “Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment: A Lesson in the Power of situation,” Philip G. Zimbardo does an experiment on 1971 at Stanford University trying to prove his theory on “what happens to essentially good people when they are placed in positions of power in a prison situation” (302). For this experiment 24 volunteer students were chosen out of 70 students to play the role of a prisoner or a prison guard, they were going to get paid $15 dollars a day. This was a study of psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or a prison guard. Dr. Zimbardo is right when he states how good people can do horrible things in certain situations. Therefore, humans cannot control themselves from changing when they have access to unlimited power.
Majority of people, can be forced or made to do almost anything by the strength of an issue or situation they are put in, not considering their morals or values. People forget about what they were taught or what they believe when they get to have that unlimited power to do whatever, whenever and with whomever they please. Like in this experiment students that were chosen randomly to play a guard or a prisoner role had no limits, get paid for doing what they think is right or doing what they know is wrong but it’s going to make them feel better. In this experiment the students that played the role of “guards” were changed into cruel and abusive sadists and the majority of the students that played the roles of prisoners into miserable, scared, and timid...