The tempest essay on power

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  1. The Abuse of Power in Shakespeare's Play, The Tempest Essay example
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  3. Power Relationships in "The Tempest"
  4. An Analysis of the Power Struggle in The Tempest, a Play by William Shakespeare | Kibin
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The Abuse of Power in Shakespeare's Play, The Tempest Essay example

This is the panopticism theory of Michel Foucault, which I examine in this paper in more detail. That is why I chose to focus on certain essential events in The Tempest and not the whole play as such. Besides, the limitation of the extent of this paper makes it necessary to emphasise just the most important scenes in the play in order to discuss the topic and the working thesis properly. To achieve this goal, I have organised my paper into four sections, three of which have sub-sections.


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In the second section, I explain the historical background of The Tempest and I briefly summarise the plot. I conclude my paper with a fourth section that discusses the working thesis. This understanding of how power works in a society is essential to grasp the concept of power and authority in The Tempest since the issue of complete control is widely used here.

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Such concepts of disciplinary power are all realised in a single architectural building which is known as the Panopticon. Foucault describes this model, that was architecturally inspired by Jeremy Bentham in the late eighteenth century, in his work Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison as the following:.


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This enclosed, segmented space, observed at every point, in which the individuals are inserted in a fixed place, in which the slightest movements are supervised, in which all events are recorded, in which an uninterrupted work of writing links the centre and periphery, in which power is exercised without division, according to a continuous hierarchical figure, in which each individual is constantly located, examined and distributed among the living beings, the sick and the dead — all this constitutes a compact model of the disciplinary mechanism.

In more simple terms, the idea of the Panopticon is that every single person in this architectural building is separated in a room. All the imprisoned people may be observed at every time by a single person that is in the centre tower.

Power Relationships in "The Tempest"

The Panopticon is build in such a way that each prisoner could be seen by the person in the centre tower but not vice versa. Besides, the prisoners cannot see any other people that may be in another small room in the Panopticon. Although Bentham formerly described this architectural building as a pattern for schools, hospitals, factories and especially prisons, this model can be adapted to a concept of power as Foucault did that in the late twentieth century.

However, that does not mean that there is a continuous surveillance. The aim is to arrange a continuous surveillance in its effects and not the action itself since the inmates just think that they are being controlled all the time although they cannot see the observer in the centre tower at any time This whole concept is the basis for any further understanding of its application on The Tempest.

The Tempest - Language and Dramatic Techniques

That is why I briefly summarise it in more simple terms for a better comprehension. Whenever one is dealing with a large number of individuals or, as in The Tempest , with little groups of individuals that are isolated from the others, this model can be applied. The most important idea of that model and the basis for the analysis of power mechanisms in The Tempest is the fact that there is a certain person who wields power without being seen and known by the people on whom the power is wielded on and who cannot see any other supervised people.

An Analysis of the Power Struggle in The Tempest, a Play by William Shakespeare | Kibin

Since the play was written in the Elizabethan period which is characterised by some essential changes in society that influenced The Tempest , it is crucial to get into more detail regarding its historical background. Historical Background. And nope, we don't source our examples from our editing service! Check out our Privacy and Content Sharing policies for more information.

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