November 30, 2013
Submission to Authority
Marines are one of the most disciplined armed forces in our world today. They are taught to receive orders and to follow them without question. But when should submission to authority stop? Should orders be disregarded when they conflict with a person’s own morals and consciousness? Maybe they should, but in the Milgram experiment, it was found that it is actually very easy for a person to accept and follow orders while leaving out their own judgment. This is exactly what happens in the movie A Few Good Men. This movie shows the discipline that the marines have and their obedience to authority, even when it may contradict their own consciousness. However, it can be argued that in the marines, soldiers are trained to lose their conscious, to lose their identity so as to not interfere with orders from their commanding officers. In the movie A Few Good Men both Private First Class (PFC) Louden Downey and Lance Corporal (LCpl) Harold W. Dawson display the theme of submission to authority due to their loss of identity that comes with being in a specific role under a higher authority. In A Few Good Men, PFC Downey and LCpl Dawson can be compared to the prisoners in the Stanford Prison experiment. When they are given orders, they follow the orders. Their loss of identity with who they really are makes them susceptible to loss of morals and consciousness. In “The Stanford Prison Experiment” Zimbardo notes that the guards made the prisoners perform meaningless tasks such as “picking thorns out of their blankets for hours on end. (The guards had previously dragged the blankets through thorny bushes to create this disagreeable task)” (394). Due to their loss of identity, the prisoners willfully complied. Similarly, LCpl Dawson held on to his morals for as long as he could until he was given a direct order to give a code red to PFC William T. Santiago. While PFC Downey was not given a direct order from a higher authority, it is...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document