Tag Archives: Biopower

Interrogating Foucauldian Concept of Power/Knowledge in Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Published)

This paper is an attempt to discuss the operation of power/knowledge and invisible disciplinary measures that are operational in Shakespeare’s tragi-comedy The Tempest. Prospero’s island in this play can be assumed as a metaphorical presentation of modern society where human behavior is determined by the implication of power/knowledge structure. The play validates Michel Foucault’s claim for omnipotent nature of Power being operated through the manipulations of Knowledge. Power and knowledge are inseparable and in order to make an effective society, modern institutions ceaselessly produce knowledge leading to “biopower”. These are the basic tenets of Michel Foucault’s conception of power/knowledge. Besides the theme of power, this play can also be analyzed basing on power relations and production of knowledge in both the court and exiled life. We have tried to analyze Shakespeare’s theme of power in The Tempest in the light of Foucault’s concepts and explore human relations based on the integrity of power/knowledge. However, the paper also shows the reversal of power relations in the form of resistance from the apparently docile and controlled bodies. 


Keywords: Biopower, Disciplinary power, Panopticon, Power/knowledge, Resistance