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Obedience as a Puppet

Obedience refers to the act of displaying submissive and dutiful behavior in regards to the other person or party (Milgram 6). Obedience comes from the verb obey and the adjective obedient. A puppet is an object operated by the help of strings and hands. The puppet is controlled by a person called the puppeteer. A puppet is also used to characterize people who are controlled by others to perform dishonest and unpleasant tasks on behalf of other people.

Stanley Milgram is a scientist who performed an experiment called Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures. The experiment entailed experiments based on social psychology. The experiment considered willingness of the participants involved in the experiment. Participants were subjected to obedience to a figure considered authoritative in the study. The instructor ordered the participants to perform duties that did not tally with their personal conscience (Milgram 12). Morality was considered in the experiment. It was noted that the participants were following orders despite the violations of the moral beliefs. The experiment has been done on several occasions with different society’s indication similar results. Milgram indicated that people are very obedient identifying them with puppets.

There are groups of scientists who indicated the research as unethical and psychologically and physically abusive, but this did not deter the expected results of the study. The study indicated that teachers considered to be participants did the experiment unwillingly, but continued because they were asked so by the instructor (Milgram 123). There are times when the participants paused and questioned the experiment. Milgram went further to summarize the experiment in the Perils of Obedience.

Milgram asserted that obedience in philosophic and legal perspectives did not have actual aspects displaying on how people behave in concrete situations. He continued to assert that very few people resist authority citing that the level of obedience is considerably high (Milgram 123). Milgram developed two theories explaining the experiments. There was the theory of conformism and the theory of agentic state.  Theory of conformism indicated the relationship between the individual person and the groups of reference.

Personal behavior model indicated that the individuals had no ability and subject to make decisions in crisis and left the decision making process to the hierarchy and the group (Milgram 124). Agentic State theory according to Milgram indicated that obedience is perceived as an instrument for conveying the wishes of the other person. This makes the participants feel not responsible for the actions. This is the cause that makes people do the wrong acts in the notion that they are not responsible for the results. This is critical in explaining the behavior of people under authority. Milgram explained fully on why people are so obedient even in questionable situations.

Milgram was interested in examining the reasons behind the killings done by the Germans against the Jews in the World War Two. It was believed that Germans had different personalities. In proving the theories, Milgram did his survey in the United States on ‘study on memory’ participants paid to perform the experiment even if they did nothing or quit at any stage (Milgram 124). Thirty seven participants took part in the experiment. A song done by Peter Grabrie indicated on the Milgram’s 37 participants that people do what they are told no matter the results of their actions. Milgram considered people from different market sections and all had the same obedience to the authority. The persuasive acts used in the experiment reflected on phrases with ‘please continue’. This made the participants continued despite knowing that they aware doing something unethical.

The study by Milgram indicated internal validity and external validity. Internal validity commonly known as the experimental realism indicates the transitions in the experiment. The experiment actually measured the expected challenges. It is noted that some of the experimenters did not believe that they were giving real shocks. Stress was evident among the experimenters. It was noted that most experimenters identified with groaning, sweating, trembling, stuttering, lips biting and digging their nails into the flesh (Milgram 132). There were three cases of seizures experienced in the participants. There was one experiment that was stopped due to a full grown seizure by the experimenter.

An experiment done on puppies indicated similar results. A research done on nurses and administration of medication on unsigned documents indicated similar results. External or ecological validity in the study of Milgram indicated that this happens in the real life situations, to confirm the allegations, Bickman on a guard and pedestrians, papers were picked by the strangers and given to other strangers. The study indicated that eighty percent of the people conferred with the results. A guard with civilian’s clothes had forty percent obedience rate (Milgram 124). This indicated that the uniform resonates with authority which in turn conferred with a sense of obedience.  

The work of Christopher Browning heavily considered on ordinary men used in killings in Poland, on obedience to authority, not blood lust, peer pressure and primal hatred (Browning Para 3). This highly resonated with the studies done by the Stanley Milgram. The young men obeyed the rules set aside by the reserve police battalion one hundred ad one and the final station (Browning Para 5).

Derren Browning’s experiment was a replication of Milgrams’ experiment. Brown was psychologist from Britain. He concentrated on the broadcast channel four. He was commonly referred to as the Heist and wanted to prove that Milgram experiment would confer to the tests he planned reflecting on participants taking part in a Heist experiment. Brown tried to persuade businessmen and businesswomen to steal one hundred thousand dollars in a robbery setup that is armed. The task was challenging but with time he managed to convince the business people. This was cleverly done through persuasion that altered the ethical behaviors of the businesspeople. The video done by Derren Brown clearly indicated that Brown resonated with the views of Milgram. This was clearly done, the persuasive act on the businesspeople in stealing a local bank.  

Antigone is a Greek mythology that indicates the King Oedipus and Jocasta daughter who disobeyed him (Jebb Para 3). Antigone means unbending and opposed to law. The king served Thebes. Antigone attempted to drive to a respectable and meaningful burial of her brother called Polynices. Polynices was considered to be a traitor in Thebes, and law in the place forbids any mourning or pain of death for traitors. Antigone went against the law and demanded decent burial of her brother. This is a trait that many people lack. Antigone did not respect the law, a condition that made Oedipus sentenced the daughter to imprisonment. Two brothers of Antigone were killed in battles against the state. Antigone was against letting the body of her brother be left in the plains and be eaten by the wild animals (Jebb Para 2). Eteocles was buried according to the traditions. Antigone indicates that this was immoral and unjust in the eyes of gods; she asserted that both brothers were entitled to equal treatment despite the law standings. Ismene failed to join the pleas of Antigone. She went ahead and buried her brother by herself.

The guards of Creon discovered this act and arrested Antigone. Antigone declared that she knew the law and declared to break it, having been walled; Antigone hanged herself (Jebb Para 4). Haemon a brother of Antigone also followed suite and killed himself. Wife of King Creon Queen Eurdice also killed herself. The story ends with a series of calamities.

Antigone resistance to unjust authority was on the basis of moral perspectives. She believed in herself and did not allow authority to distract her actions. She went further to bury her brother in a decent way indicating a sense of decisiveness. This lacks in many people when it comes to group thinking. Researchers like Milgram indicated that many people are swayed by the authority or groups. People become indecisive and follow the decisions made by other people citing that they are not responsible. Antigone had nothing to lose in the process, she believed in her actions (Jebb Para 5). Having lost two brothers, she felt half dead and lacked a sense of living. The story ends with a number of people killing themselves indicating the attachment they had to the Antigone, although they feared the consequences set by the law.   


There are a number of reasons that make people develop obedience considering authority. The general reason that drives obedience is mainly based on companionship nature. The world has very few people considered as hermits. People socialize and interact to make an impact on each other. Researches have established that personal ethics are compromised in considering groups of people. Leadership is found to deal with the confrontation of the group and personal ethics. Leadership instills order in a society by defining a culture as people interact and learn from one another. Leadership’s influence defines the obedience to the authority. People experience isolation, ostracized and solitude considering effects of the authority.

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