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Juliana Hwang

Mr. Girba
English 1H/Period 4
February 1, 2016
Evil Over Good
Lust. Greed. Pride. They are three of the Seven Deadly Sins created by a monk named
Evagrius Ponticus, who was influenced by the complications his society brought amongst
themselves. To Evangrius, the temptations men committed displayed a vulnerability, which
would ultimately lead to sinful actions. However, the majority of civilization through personal
conscience would understand the difference between what is morally right, and immorally
wrong. Humanity has their attempts to lean more to what is morally right simply because it
expresses the good nature, and positive emotions of themselves. But, there comes a time when
society tends to deviate from that admirable quality to a stature of inferiority. That is to say,
humans would drift between the opposing sides due to a variety of causes in which is expressed
by their behavior. Such examples would include William Goldings, Lord of the Flies. The story
mainly presents an argument for readers to decide about a group of boys to determine if their
actions were just or unjust. The same idea also revolves around a variety of events and
experiments, all exhibiting how individuals would act or express their emotions to each other
during certain situations, and the conflicts that emerge with it. Thus, left by their own devices,
humans tend to stray from an inherently good nature through the influence of power as
evidenced from Lord of the Flies, fear based on the various social experiments conducted, and
Social Darwinism from The Most Dangerous Game.

An influence that causes humans to defy their good nature would be power, specifically
evidenced from William Goldings, Lord of the Flies. According to the passage, Jack says, I
ought to be chief, Jack said with simple arrogance, because Im chapter chorister and head boy.
I can sing C sharp(Golding 22). In the quote, it describes Jack wanting to be chief, and lead the
boys due to his experience in leadership. Therefore, through what the quote directly stated, it
shows an importance towards how individuals such as Jack can be influenced by power. One
who holds power has the capability to use it in a variety of ways, yet in Jacks case, his belief on
power differs from those who would use it in a more positive notion. As the novel progresses, it
reveals more about Jacks lust for power, and how he will use it to his own advantage, rather than
to help others. With power, comes great responsibility(Stan Lee). As Stan Lee says, with that
type of privilege, comes the requirements to control and care for it. If an individual holds that
amount of responsibility, and isnt able to correctly control it, then the power may be used
negatively. Likewise, Jack soon began to take it in a more negative approach as he actually
obtains power once leaving Ralphs group.

In the text, Jack asserts, Go on. Tie them. Now the painted group felt the otherness of
Samneric, felt the power in their own hands. They felled the twins clumsily and excitedly. Jack
was inspired [...] Jack turned to Ralph and spoke between his teeth. See? They do what I want.
(Golding 178). The quote illustrates a conflict between Jack and Ralph as he orders the savages
to tie Samneric, showing Ralph that the boys do what he wants. This is an example on how Jack
has obtained power, and uses it to his own advantage. The quote, as a result, demonstrates
another use of power once it is genuinely gained. As Jack gains the power he desired over the
course of the story, he also realizes what he could with it. Hes going to beat Wilfred.[...]
Robert shook his head doubtfully. dont know. He didnt say. He got angry and made us tie

Wilfred up. Hes been-he giggled excitedly--hes been tied for hours, waiting-- (Golding 159).
In a similar manner, this quote adds on to how Jack uses power. The influence of chief further
increases his obsession of authority as he orders the other boys to beat up Wilfred without any
reasoning. The power an individual holds can influence them to do things they dont normally
do, meaning that for people such as Jack, having that type of authority causes them to get too
obsessed with it. From controlling others to do what they want, to having whatever is needed, the
obsession for authority begins to consume them. Power is a consequential concept, having the
ability to change society into a corrupt one in just a short amount of time, likewise to what
happened to the boys in the Lord of the Flies. The idea of having that much authority can
furthermore lead to changes and consequences as one becomes more obsessed in having
command, therefore, allowing those who have become influenced by power to stray from the
good nature that they once displayed.

Another effect that sidetracks society from morality is fear based on the various social
experiments conducted. For instance, an experiment displayed the actions of pedestrians as they
passed by an actor who was apparently sick. The actions portrayed by the pedestrians is an
effect known as the Bystander Effect. Unwittingly, these strangers have silently formed a
temporary group with a rule. Dont get involved. Theyre afraid to stand out from the crowd, and
wont take action if no one else does(Bystander Effect). During the experiment, as the actor,
Peter, played his role in being sick, the strangers around him passed by. This is an example of the
Bystander Effect, a social psychological phenomenon in which individuals do not offer help to a
victim when other people are present. The strangers seen disregarding Peter were afraid to help
because no one else was taking action, or seeing if he was alright. Due to their behavior, it leads
to a common feeling society has experienced: Fear. We have here is two conflicting rules. One

is we ought to help, and the other is the rule we ought do what everyone else is
doing(Bystander Effect). As the quote mentions, there are two rules. One says to help, the other
says to not. As seen in the experiment, the strangers were following the second rule, showing an
example on how fear drives them to not take part in helping another individual.

In addition, fear has also influenced those who took part in the Milgram Experiment, a
psychological observation on obedience to authority. There were a set of volunteers to determine
if the learner would answer the question right or wrong. If the question was answered incorrectly,
the learner would receive an electric shock, which would increase each time. Milgram found,
surprisingly, and rather horrifyingly, that the majority of people would actually go right to the
very highest level if there was some pressure in a man in a white coat(Big History NL). The
quote describes the results of the experiment of which the vast majority of the volunteers would
grant the learner all the level of electric shocks that were given. This is rather caused by the fear
the volunteers experienced from the authorities, or rather, a man in a white coat. The situation
also can be compared with the Nazis. As Hitlers rise of power began to spread throughout
Germany, so did the amount of loyalty towards him. How could ordinary people who are
courteous and decent in everyday life can act callously, inhumanely, without any limitations of
conscious(Big History NL). This is because these ordinary people feared Hitler, and had to
obey him. They were afraid of what could happen if they disobeyed, and the consequences that
could result in it. The fear Hitler expressed, then again, ties in with how the volunteers felt about
stopping the experiment. The influence of fear deprived them of their personal conscience as the
majority decided to continue with the experiment, even when the learners painful screams could
be heard.

A final example that causes civilization to depart from an inherently good nature would
be Social Darwinism from Richard Connells, The Most Dangerous Game. In the passage,
General Zaroff says, Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by
the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure [...] I am strong.
Why should I not use my gift? If I wish to hunt, why should I not?(Connell 8). The quote
describes Zaroffs motives on hunting men, believing in Social Darwinism, a theory commonly
known as survival of the fittest. As Zaroff begins to be bored of hunting, he decides to invent a
new animal. This animal in fact was men he used to appease and challenge his sense of hunting.
As the human population slowly continues to expand, so does the two opposing sides: strong vs.
weak. Strength, power, endurance, and popularity are just one of the many benefits that come
with it. These type of people are dominant in society, and are examples of what the majority
would want to be like. The opposing side, however, is the complete opposite. Being weak rarely
gives benefits, and is considered as something no one wants to be. Theyre left out of the picture
in society, just like a child alone on the swings as the other children play together. These children
ignore the child, similar to how society intends to ignore those that arent like them. This then
ties in with how Zaroff thinks of weak men. They have no value, or benefits to be a dominant
figure in society. These men were essentially useless, until Zaroff had other plans for them. As
stated earlier, he began to grow bored of hunting, and needed a challenge. Because of his belief
in Darwinism, he chose weak men as his prey, therefore, showing how the theory influences
Zaroff to stray from an inherently good nature.

Furthermore, as the novel continues, it reveals more on how Zaroff feels about murdering
the men. The hunting was not good last night. The fellow lost his head. He made a straight tail
that offered no problems at all. Thats the trouble with these sailors; they have dull brains to

begin with, and they do not know how to get about in the woods. They do excessively stupid and
obvious things. Its most annoying(Connell 10). Zaroff describes his previous hunt, but in a
disappointed way. He feels as though he isnt being challenged because the men were weakminded and didnt know their way through the land. Yet he still considers them a minority of
society, showing another example of how Social Darwinism influences Zaroff to murder the
men. As he described earlier, the general showed no emotional attachment or guilt to the murder
of his previous prey. Instead, he shows disappointment. The men he has been hunting havent
shown much of a challenge, further increasing Zaroffs belief on Darwinism. Darwinism, then
again, is essentially survival of the fittest. As Zaroff becomes the hunter, the men become the
hunted. Its similar to how a lion hunts a deer. The creature stalks its prey, ready to unleash a
surprise attack as the deer grazes. The deer is completely vulnerable to its hunter. It didnt have
the strength to fight back because it was weak, tying in with how Zaroff sees the men he hunts.
They were weak as well, not knowing what to do, and not having the strength to survive. Zaroff
then releases his attack, murdering his prey in cold blood, and not showing remorse to his killing.
His actions are yet similar to what a normal predator would act as it kills its prey, therefore,
showing how Darwinism influences Zaroff to become the predator, and rid the weak of

At times, civilization at some points would lean away from morality, and commit an
action that is supposedly bad. But, despite a persons crimes, humans also have a personal
conscience. It allows individuals to think before they act, or understand the difference between
what is morally right and immorally wrong. This is a tool to help others choose the right decision
in attempt to make themselves a better person. Yet, although a personal conscience would be
useful in a way, there is still the desire to do something that is wrong to most people. These

desires would later influence an individual to commit the action, and face the consequences later
on. But, why would society commit these types of actions? They try to express themselves in a
good way the majority of the time, but it wouldnt exactly cover up what they did previously.
Their personal conscience was there to help them, but they didnt listen to it. This therefore
shows how society at times tends deviate from their inherently good nature due influences such
as power as stated in Lord of the Flies, fear demonstrated from various social experiments
conducted, Social Darwinism evidenced in The Most Dangerous Game, and much more as
society continues to sway from both opposing sides of good and evil.

Works Cited

Connell, Richard Edward. The Most Dangerous Game. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2011.

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2003. Print.

"Milgram Experiment - Big History NL, Threshold 6." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.

"THE BYSTANDER EFFECT." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.

"What Are The Seven Deadly Sins." AllAboutGOD.com. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.