Essay On Fear Of Punishment Enforces Discipline

For Hegel, the trespasser’s experience of fear, when submitted to the penal code, is always embodied by another person, i.e., the executor of the sentence or the “lord of this reality.” This dread, just as the prospect of punishment that sparks it, is absolute, because alien, and is equated with a fear of death, the ultimate fear.

The penal law offers a moral horizon and an incentive to moral betterment; it rests upon a belief in deontological and teleological system as it lays the foundations for duty-driven and purpose-driven action but it does not lay the basis for a truly ethical life in Hegel’s view.

Il y est avant tout l’instrument d’une consolidation du corps-politique.

La distinction hégélienne entre la peur de la loi pénale et morale, et la peur plus profonde du destin ou de soi-même, permet une meilleure exploration de l’expérience même de la peur, de la conscience morale, et du processus menant de la peur et du châtiment vers un plus grand degré de conscience.

Chastisement scenes are more or less prominent in each one of these plays.

Sometimes they relate only to secondary characters or inset plots, or are even reduced to a very short, reported story within the play, as is the case with the execution of the treacherous Thane of Cawdor in Put together, these scenes of chastisement, execution, or reprieve, suggest that punishment is ineffective in deterring from further wrong-doing (Macbeth is not instructed, for instance, by the example of Cawdor’s treason and execution) and that punishment is ineffective in putting an end to fear, for fear breeds hate which, in turn, breeds more fear.

The bloodiest of Shakespeare’s plays, it is argued, blur the distinction between the theatre and the scaffold as a space of performance, building on the model of the Elizabethan revenge tragedy and its gusto for executions, however in a somewhat more subdued vein.

shows Shakespeare pinpointing already at an early stage the impossibility for the performance of the physical ritual of power not to be at once an act of butchery.

We are given a commanding view of how the use of fear or terror plays into the exercise of power, but it is seldom explored from within or for itself.

To find a more intimate view of the dialectics of fear and punishment, we need to revert to the former, longer Romantic trend of criticism that developed out of Hegel’s readings of Shakespeare, privileging the study of the Shakespearean moral imagination, which remained current down to Harold Bloom In “Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate,” Hegel uses Macbeth as an example to distinguish the moral law, expressed in the penal code and generating a fear of something “alien,” from “fate as punishment,” which the philosopher describes as a fear or “awe” of oneself.


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