Freedom From The Bars Of Your Soul

2352 words - 10 pages

What is freedom? Is it when you have rights written by law to which you are entitled to? Is it being able to do what you want when you want? Is it freedom from desire as discussed by Irigaray or is it freedom from some sort of individuality? All of these could be correct in a certain way but wrong in another. Michel Foucault discussed the idea of having very limited freedom due to the social structures that are in place within humanity. In the book, “Discipline and Punish,” he examines the different structures that are in place that contribute to punishment and restrict freedom. He also discusses the different types of power in the modern day world and how they contrast with the tradition power of the past, “It was a time of great ‘scandals’ for traditional justice, a time of innumerable projects for reform. It saw a new theory of law and crime, a new moral or political justification to punish; old laws were abolished, old customs died out” (Foucault, page 7). According to Foucault the main denial of freedom is being in prison, the idea of punishing the soul and denying access to the outside world, the reasons for such a conclusion are as follows.
Physical punishments were the panicle of consequences that one had to endure when a law was disregarded by a citizen. Foucault describes a public execution that happened in March 1757, “This last operation was very long because the horses used were not accustomed to drawing; consequently, instead of four, six were needed; and when that did not suffice, they were forced, in order to cut off the wretch’s thighs, to sever the sinews and hack at the joints...” (Foucault 3). This particular idea is rather gruesome, the idea of being drawn and quartered multiply times only to fail and have to be hacked at the joints of one’s limbs. This was a panicle punishment at one time, the idea of being punished to the point of death offered no freedom or resolution to occur. The very notion of one’s innocence until proven guilty was a laughable clause at this point in time. The only answer to all was guilty and to which method of death was forecast in one’s future. Foucault states, “As a result, justice no longer takes public responsibility for the violence that is bound up with its practice” (Foucault 9). This statement depicts the concept of justice no longer being a credential within the justice system and when violence ensures of the offenders death, it was something that was unavoidable. “The reduction in penal severity in the last 200 years is a phenomenon with which legal historians are well acquainted. But, for a long time, it has been regarded in an overall way as a quantitative phenomenon: less cruelty, less pain, more kindness, more respect, more ‘humanity’” (Foucault 16), this is a demonstration of the changes that had undergone in 200 years. There was little to no violence regarding execution but a more humane execution took its place. The more humane idea came from the concept that, “... Punishment, if I...

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