A strong relationship of power existed between the sovereign and the accused, as is shown to the people in public torture in execution. Foucault asserts that any violation of the law set down by the sovereign was a flagrant disregard of the orders of said leader. This person was seen as directly offending the sovereign. The prince, Foucault says, exercises the right to punish law-breakers publicly to show how enemies of the sovereign must pay for their treason, even when the violation is a minor one. The military also was very obviously present at these sorts of displays, as they also communicate the power of the sovereign over his enemies. Foucault points out occasions on which the crowds at an execution hail the king following the punishment – incitement of public support for the powers that be. Generally, no one wants to be seen as an enemy of the king when they have just watched “him” disembowel someone else.
The person being tortured/executed, the “patient”, was supposed to assert their guilt before the masses during executions. The execution was supposed to be a long, drawn-out public confession, with justice exacted in the execution and the horror of their cries of agony. This went wrong when criminals proclaimed innocence or revelations on the scaffold. They did not express the certain guilt that the postal worker in the mourning vestments (mentioned several times in the Foucault literature) did at their execution. This easily connected the guilt of the crime and the swift punishment in the eyes of the onlookers.
There were pamphlets following executions that memorialized the criminals as heroes, detailing speeches that they supposedly made prior to their immanent execution. These speeches were well-worded and detailed repentance so deep as to elicit public support. These pamphlets ended up glorifying criminals as they were artists in a form. The great crimes were a sort of art that was to be venerated. This literature was quickly banned by public authorities, as it might incite public rebellion in response to the justice exacted against these figures.
After reading the Foucault article, the video of Mohammad Bouazizi seems to also display how a government might attempt to use death as a form of social control. Similar to how the pamphlets in the 18th century turned the public to venerating the criminals, the postings about the horror exacted by the Ben Ali regime on Facebook incited greater revolt. Bouazizi’s demonstration turned him into a martyr for the cause, as social media allowed him and the other victims of the government to be freely advertized. The pictures are almost a mirror of the stories from the Foucault excerpt. The relationship between a government exercising power and public executions seems impossible to misinterpret after reading the literature.