A Few Good Men Analysis

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No Ms. Johnson, I Can’t Handle the Truth “My obedience makes me part of the power I worship, and hence I feel strong. I can feel no error”, (Fromm 127). In Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men, the ethical dilemma between the obedience to authority and the obedience one’s self is examined. On a Naval base in Washington D.C, Lt. Daniel Kaffee is accompanied by Lt. Com. Galloway in order to protect two Marines, Corporal Dawson and Corporal Downey, from a life in prison. Both marines were directly involved in the death of the “subpar marine”(Reiner) William Santiago and were accused of murdering the private by using a poisoned rag to gag him while the hazed him. However, after noticing blood coming from Santiago’s mouth, Santiago was rushed to the hospital…show more content…
With danger around each corner, the marine’s developed a rigid and tense disposition in response to authority as exemplified by Dawson and Downey in their interrogation with Kaffee. Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was in constant unrest as, according to Colonel Jessup, “[he] eats breakfast 80 yards away from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill [him]” (Reiner). Unlike the bases within the United States, the men and women at Guantanamo faced danger and feared the threat of an attack each day leaving them unable to relax or let their guard down. These situational factors of the base transformed the perspective of the soldiers into viewing each order as a separation between them and their deathbed. Jessup reaffirmed the importance of orders as he explained in his interrogation that the marines “follow orders or people die” (Reiner). However by continuously engraining the importance of following orders, Jessup causes the marines to feel unnecessarily unsafe because of his urgency. Philip G. Zimbardo, the creator of The Stanford Prison Experiment, said, “the most devastating impact of the more hostile guards was their creation of a capricious, arbitrary environment” (Zimbardo 113). Authority figures have the power to make an environment that corresponds with their values. For Jessup and his officers, they valued obedience within the marines so they made their orders seem to be a form of protection to ensure that the soldiers would not question them. Dawson and Downey obeyed the code red because they believed it would keep them safe just as they were conditioned to believe because the severity of their authority figures caused them to misinterpret their
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