Foucaults Discipline and Punish The Birth of the Prison

This paper illustrates that fighting existed between the nobles, royal families, and other kingdoms as peasants scrambled for more land. Regarding the feudalism system, only royal, noble, and middle-upper classes received consideration as members of the society. Although the peasants were bound to the land, they did not have any rights. Subsequently, they were referred to as ‘excluders’ to the society. In this social context, any crimes were against the sovereign as the society regarded them honorable. Further, the society intended to instill fear to the peasants through torture and public execution. Such situation was meant to ensure automatic obedience among the peasants. The contextualized punitive powers gave not only pain to the body, but also left terror to the soul. Foucault shows torture and public execution as the ‘surplus power’ of the sovereign and a technology of power over the body. The political logic of punishment in relation to the performance display of power considers crime as an offense to the rectitude of those that abide by the law. For instance, if an individual commits an unlawful act, whether they do not cause harm or injury to the individuals, it is an offense that demands reparation. Essentially, any intervention of the sovereign in a case meant an offense against him. Further, every offense or crime considered as ‘potential regicide’ had an ideal punishment where it constitutes all possible tortures. Since crime is an offense, punishment, torture, and public execution are seen as vengeance. Therefore, destroying a body piece by piece through the infinite power of the sovereign constituted not only the ideal but the real limit of punishment. In addition, punishment restores sovereignty by displaying the infinite force on a body. Consequently, chancellery formed in 1789 indicated the universal idea relating to concerns of execution and torture. The situation was typical to end the physical confrontation between the sovereign and criminals. Henceforth, execution became shameful and revolving. In his book, Foucault asserts that on the side of power, where it betrayed tyranny, excess, the thirst for revenge, and the cruel pleasure is taken in punishing results in revolting. On the victims’ side whose thought is reduced to despair, is expected to bless heaven and the inherent judges that seemed to have left him.