Sample Essay

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison is a book detailing Michel Foucault’s philosophical ruminations regarding the changes brought about in western prisons in the 1970s. It offers many ideas which are meant to have an impact on both an individual and on a societal level. This paper will speak of power as an attribute in penal systems and how the new system of enlightenment offers a more positive power in deference to the old (Foucault, 1995).

In the first chapter of the book is titled “Body of the Condemned” speaks of the violent and bloody torture of Damien who was convicted of regicide in 1757. Though caught after the act and convicted, Foucault clearly demonstrates how the increasingly morbid tortures that Damien was put through, rather than vilifying him in eyes of the public actually had the unintended purpose of creating sympathy for him (Foucault, 1995 p.3-5).

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