Power And Power In Prospero's The Tempest

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Richard Wilson argues in his book, “Shakespeare in French Theory: King of Shadows” that “Instead of the ostentatious presence of the medieval monarch, the hidden king will be nowhere and everywhere at once, his strength all the more godlike for being suspended and concealed” (Wilson 94). The above quotation talks about how it is the faceless gaze of the monarch, and not his ostentatious presence, that helps him achieve his power. The same proposition of the 'faceless gaze ' is echoed in The Tempest. However, it is technology, the critical gadget in Prospero 's reconnaissance device, that makes The Tempest so important to present-day reflections on power and ideology. Technology is allegorically embodied in Prospero 's magic, allowing him to…show more content…
Prospero 's books additionally epitomize his command over the world of spirits. Subsequently, his “scopic administration” (Webb 75-76) completely depends on the agency of Ariel, the invisible eye, the faceless gaze of his power executing his orders “with a twink” (4.1.43). Prospero’s most remarkable interest is that Ariel ought to be “subject/To no sight however thine and mine, imperceptible/To each eyeball else” (1.2.303-4). This is the second passage I will use to support my argument. Ariel is Prospero 's omniscient eye, his secret informer and the centerpiece of his visual government. On the island, the essence of power lies in the sovereign 's ability to see without being seen just like Ariel who is “subject to no sight”, thereupon recreating the states of a present day cárcel universe. Then from that perspective we can compare the island to a prison of gaze, similar to what Foucault had suggested (Foucault 195-230). Caliban 's paranoia is extremely symbolic of this anti-utopian system (of seeing without been seen), as he is constantly mindful that “Prospero 's spirits can hear me” (2.2.3), signifying that he is one of the prisoners on the island. His repeated reminder to Stephano to seize Prospero’s books additionally brings out his fear towards Prospero’s books and his surveillance system. One can draw a comparison between Prospero’s ocular-centric observation system and Jeremy Bentham 's Panopticon. Foucault believes that power becomes more efficient with the…show more content…
The passage also shows Caliban’s resistance and rebellion as a result of subjugation from Prospero’s books. According to Foucault “Where there is power, there is resistance” (Foucault 95). In Foucault 's hypothesis that power is an effect of difference, resistance is the essential example of segregation inside of power. Correspondingly, the existence of clashing ideology is the thing that permits a prevailing belief system to be maintained on the island; and ideology unmistakably works through difference. In their postcolonial exposition on The Tempest, Francis Barker and Peter Hulme note that usurpation is the primary political subject transfusing the play (Barker and Hulme 32-48). The likelihood for usurpation is decisively what permits Prospero to legitimize and support his totalitarian regime on the island. Caliban’s threatening assimilation of Prospero 's rhetoric makes him a danger to the established framework, as he is one of the only few people who knows about the existence of ‘the Panopticon’. One can see Caliban’s hatred for Prospero as he tells Stephano to “batter his skull; or paunch him with a stake / Or cut/his weasand with thy knife” (3.2.85-87). Caliban uses the same language taught by Prospero to curse him: “You taught me language, and my profit on’t/ Is I know how to curse / The red plague rid you / For learning me your language” (1.2.366-8). The above passage is the third passage i will be using to bring out my argument. This knowledge
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