Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

The Tightrope of Power: the balance between power, knowledge, and authority in relation to Antigone College

Foucault’s Discipline and Punish reads partly like a historic text and partly like a speculative essay. Its themes revolving around power, knowledge, and authority however, conveys fundamental principles that is innate to human nature. Foucault addresses these issues in a circular fashion where the end of the capacity for one is also the beginning of another. The question that is posed is deceptively simple: what does Foucault mean when he talks about power, knowledge, and authority? To answer this it would be helpful to bring in a text that deals with the same issues (although in a different context) and compare them side by side. The play Antigone by Sophocles is no stranger to these themes. Full of power struggles between authoritative figures and an unyielding pursuit of knowledge (or the truth), Antigone, despite being centuries apart in the time of its publication to Discipline and Punish, speaks to a truth of human nature that is timeless. Both texts understand that power, knowledge, and authority are theoretically and practically linked. Foucault argues and the characters of Antigone show that power exists in a fragile relationship, knowledge is acquired but not definite, and authority can sometimes be its own entity....

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