Studying the Concept and Effect of Power on the Matter of Identity in Sarah Kane’s play, Cleansed, a Foucauldian Reading

Maryam Beyad, Hojatallah B. Farahani


 The present study is an attempt to explore the meaning and the domineering effect of power on man’s identity with its function through discourse, gender, body and sexuality. The analysis is going to be done on Sarah Kane’s play, cleansed, in the light of Michel Foucault’s poststructuralist theories. From the vantage point of Foucault’s idea, power is practiced everywhere, and throughout all men’s history. He examines power, in his works, from renaissance era up until modern time. Foucault looks at power as an agency, applying all its caliber, to cause obedience/docile body, an endeavor that if fails, it leads to madness. To getting a better rapport of Foucault’s understanding of power requires the comprehension of some key concepts as discourse, panapticon, knowledge, and sexuality which will be discussed in the continuation. Moreover, the research signifies the impact(s) of power on the subject in its social context and follows the process and ways of normalization of power as it is dramatized in Cleansed. Kane’s play vividly, of course, in an astounding representation, pictures how resistance against normalizing rules results from the violence and brutality of power agencies as they manage to run their authority over the people. In the following, both destructive and productive outcomes of power along with the specific discourse chosen by Kane to represents its characters’ struggle for their identity will be lined up. 


power, docile body, discourse, knowledge.

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