An Analysis of Power and Violence in Literature Essay

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An Analysis of Power and Violence in Literature Violence and power are both significant sources of conflict in the world we currently live in. Large animals exert their power over smaller ones through violence and through their consumption. In this example, we find the food chain. Humankind exerts their power through violence and power in a similar way, creating a hierarchy of power. Although not all violence is physical, it is still used to obtain control of another person or situation. Hannah Arendt writes in her book ‘On Violence’ “In the same vein he regarded the state as an instrument of violence in the command of the ruling class; but the actual power of the ruling class did not consist of or rely on violence” (11). When you sit …show more content…
This ties into Hannah Arendt’s passage on violence because of the way the women seize power at the assembly. The women are clearly the ruling class when it comes to this play, and with accordance to Arendt’s passage, do not use physical or spoken violence to obtain the control over Athens. The women obtain authority by attending the assembly, and they rule with authority, as opposed to violence, as well. The women strive to change laws about common property and ownership. In their acquisition of Athens’ governmental control, they change the laws so that all land, property, money, food, and sexual relations are shared among all those living in Athens. The women hope, that through their democratic influence, they will be able to abolish all inequalities, violence, and thievery. By withholding food privileges for wrong-doings, they aim to eliminate all crime from Athens. Although there is no mention of violent governmental control before the women, there is still no evidence of violent rule in their regime. Shakespeare’s ‘A Tempest’ and Aimé Césaire’s ‘A Tempest’ also deal with matters of violence and control, but in a different way from ‘The Assembly Women’. In both versions of A/The Tempest, power is held and abused by the governing force. Using Hannah Arendt’s logic from ‘On Violence’, Prospero would represent the state, because he holds all of the authority and power, and keeps it through