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Ilha do Desterro

On-line version ISSN 2175-8026

Ilha Desterro vol.70 no.1 Florianópolis Jan./Apr. 2017 


Spatial Politics in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Elham Kazemi1 

Mohsen Hanif2 

1Kharazmi University, Tehran, IR

2Kharazmi University, Tehran, IR


This article examines the notion of spatial politics in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The two eponymous characters enter the politically convulsive world of Hamlet, where scarcely any legitimate power structure controls the state. Their regularized political rationality ceases to apply to the world; reality violates the empirical knowledge -emplacements, geographical and spiritual directions, and identity in general - of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The previously defined functions of places, or heterotopias (in Foucauldian terms), are in a state of abeyance. Therefore, they are lost in the midst of the unknown sets of spatial relations; any sorts of intentional act evade them; and they die and vanish absurdly in a placeless place.

Keywords: Tom Stoppard; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; spatial politics; heterotopias


“Two Elizabethans,” Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are “passing time in a place without any visible character” (Stoppard 11). They enter the stage of Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead after the king has been murdered, an incestuous marriage has been hurried, yet before Hamlet’s plot is put into practice. In actuality, they enter “shambles” (60, 107, 108). The set of relations which shape either a monarchical or capitalist system of political manipulation creates heterotopias-spaces with specific functions. Systems of control evade homogenization of spaces but provide them with a relational identity. Therefore, the heterotopias of a society share a characteristic: they are in relation with all the other spaces. This relation or conjunction, due to the chaos in the political sphere of the play, is unstable. Foucauldian definition of power relations and a heterotopic study of the play will explain the shambles the two eponymous characters enter.

The external space in which we live, for Foucault, is “heterogeneous” (Foucault, Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias” 3). He maintains that space constitutes a set of relations that preexists the subjects’ manipulations. The set of relations produces regularities; and it establishes particular functions for places. Power prevents homogenization of the spaces it creates; instead, it sets up “connections, cross-references, complementarities and demarcations between them” (Foucault, “The Eye of Power” 159). Therefore, subjects identify their roles in different spaces. The ownerless power machine, which catches everyone in the action, works efficiently only if it involves constant observation. Foucault interprets this “gaze” in terms of mistrust (155).1 He also holds that this mistrust is absent in monarchical power systems which are constructed around an absolute trust in the monarch. However, in the absence of both the circulating mistrust and absolute trust spatial distribution is disturbed; and loss of identity is the equal consequence for the subjects.

Stoppard, in his play, contrives a postmodern outlook on the political chaos in Hamlet through two of the minor characters of Shakespeare’s play. Before the murder of the king, the government could empirically produce regularities. These norms helped subjects like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern make sense of their being. But then, when Claudius seizes the power, neither trust nor circulating mistrust exists. Therefore, spatial distribution and role definition vanish. The eponymous characters live in a world where their empirical knowledge and rationality cease to function. The heterotopias such as the geographical directions are interrupted. Consequently, they fail to relate to the world and are left as non-functional empty slots.

Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead has been open to different modes of interpretations. Most significantly, many critics have pointed out the existentialist and absurdist atmosphere that the play creates; keeping this track, Manfred Draudt examines the vanishing adytum of each of the binary poles such as the ambiguous spheres of life/death, reality/illusion, and spectator/actor. Other scholars who have contributed to the dominant outlook are C. W. E. Bigsby with his theme of Absurdism; Lucina Paquet Gabbard whose work specifically focuses on the outstanding theme of absurdist death in the play; and Richard Corballis’s comparative work which elaborates on the role of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern versus the Tragedians who appear in the play (24-31). Pew Maji’s and Liang Fei’s sets of articles address the articulation of absurdism pervading the play.

However, a number of researchers have been concerned with the postmodern elements employed in the play. Ben Gross is concerned with Stoppard’s “theatrical determinism” which furthers both the possibility and plausibility of the philosophical criticism of the play. He explores different scholarly critical works on the play to conclude that Stoppard’s adopted characters transcend Hamlet’s script. Stoppard exploits Absurdist techniques to allow Shakespeare’s minor characters to philosophize about their existence and determined destiny in Hamlet’s plot. Consequently, Stoppard’s play reflects a philosophical complex with multiple layers of meaning that brings about varying conclusions about its nature. Attie De Langue, Boldizsar Fejervari, Amita Rawlley, Joseph E. Duncan, and Anja Easterling are among the scholars who are interested in intertextual study in their articles; their works contain a comparative study of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead with Hamlet, Waiting for Godot, and even Marlow’s Edward II (Fejervari). They discuss issues such as identity, death, and the existential criteria.

Still other papers, extending the postmodern spirit all through the play, whose readings keep the discussion of identity inevitable may include Elizabeth A. Mayer’s and Noorbakhsh Hooti’s articles which explore general features of postmodernism in Stoppard’s work. Also, Kelly King’s article applies Paul Ricoeur’s theory of narrative identity; King points out that man’s identity is a narration and Shakespeare’s Hamlet provides one for the character of that name; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, however, had been deprived of the rights to a narration until Stoppard dedicated his own play to them. Daniel K. Jernigan outlines the matter of identity from an archetypal approach, with regard to the absurdist tone of the play; Jernigan explores the identity of the trickster, examines the plausibility of the role for different characters. He also explains that the two eponymous characters’ identity is in the hands of one trickster who exploits them in Hamlet’s plot, leaves them baffled, and keeps them outside of Stoppard’s plot. Anna Suwalska-Kolecka focuses on spatial notions in Stoppard’s works: she equals space with atmosphere and describes the space of the play as “atmosphere of ambiguity” (309). The characters are in search of logic and cohesion. Suwalska refers to the space (world) around them and points out the cause of the ambiguousness, which is empiricism. Only through their experiences and perceptions Rosencrantz and Guildenstern take the world for granted. Nevertheless, the world has ceased to appear as it used to: it “resists man’s effort to enclose it in a rational system of thought” (310). She further explains and justifies the epistemological vertigo which Stoppard’s play has created through its spatial constructions.


Space, in a Foucauldian context, suggests a network of relations which enjoys a normative quality. In our era, space involves “sites;” and “site is defined by relations of proximity between points or elements” (Foucault, “Of Other Spaces” 2). Although Foucault explains that our epoch is of space rather than time, he holds that the preoccupation with space is not our “innovation” (1). The history of spaces is the history of powers; and this whole history has remained unwritten up to our epoch (Foucault, “The Eye of Power” 149). The Middle Ages was the era of “emplacement” before Gallileo could replace this outlook with the idea of “extention.” Stability began to vanish since Gallileo’s discovery of the “infinitely open space”; “a thing’s place was no longer anything but a point in its movement” (Foucault, “Of Other Spaces” 1-2). Therefore, it is no longer possible to think of space as something fixed in which nations and cultures flourish and move; space is, instead, the manufacturer of nations and cultures. Space is knowledge or a conviction (norms) around which subjects are distributed. They take up and embody roles which are created by the preexisting relations of space.2

Moreover, Foucault introduces the heterotopic functions and principles of those sets of relations which connect and intersect with the geographical points. In his lecture “Of Other Spaces,” he explains six principles of heterotopias “that have the curious property of being in relation with all the other sites” (3). He contends that a heterotopia is a “virtual point” in relation to which one is capable of perceiving the surrounding world (4). First of all, heterotopias exist in all cultures (4); secondly, although each one has a particular function, the function may disappear and be replaced (5). Thirdly, heterotopias are “capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible.” 3 The fourth trait constitutes the heterotopias that exist in relation to different slices of time; Foucault dubs them “heterochronies” (6). They accumulate all times and places in one place (in the case of modern libraries), or relate to time in its transitory nature (in the case of festivals). Foucault holds, explaining the fifth principle, that entering heterotopias needs qualifications.4 Otherwise, the open gates are illusory: “we enter where we are, by the very fact that we enter, excluded” (7). The sixth and last principle of heterotopias exposes every other remaining spaces; these heterotopias can be either illusory or real places. If the former, they depict the society, “all the sites inside of which human life is partitioned, as still more illusory;” if the latter, on the contrary, “their role is to create a space that is . . . as perfect, as meticulous, as well-arranged as ours is messy, ill-constructed and jumbled” (8).

Hence, the subjects of a single society live within the particular sets of relations; the ownerless power machine regulates and distributes the subjects. Now, if the machine stops working regularly and the illusion of order disappears, chaos comes up; and surely the heterotopic functions change radically.The empirical knowledge of the subjects, then, ceases to apply to the world; and this lack of efficiency renders them mere empty slots who wander around in search of action and a possible plot. The space of Stoppard’s play hints this supposition. It depicts a chaotic scene “in the middle of nowhere,” in which no action, in its traditional sense, happens (Stoppard 63). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, from Hamlet’s stance, are apparently summoned by the court-distributed around the norm(s) of a monarchical institution-which traditionally has to exist as a means to an ultimate end; and this ultimate end gives identity or character to its means. Now, what if the presumed gods of the system fall short of their rank? Melancholic Hamlet, his killed king-father, his king-killer incestuous uncle, and his gullible disloyal queen-mother do not fit in the crown as “the ‘source’ or ‘discipline’ from which all power derives as if from a luminous focus” (Foucault, “The Eye of Power” 159).

The two eponymous characters are cast in a place where the power structure is about to change. Truth has been unveiled to Hamlet, so the source of knowledge is going to be transferred. During the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are living on the edge of the former and the new arrangement of power. In the end, their deaths are enunciated to a dead court; the Player expresses in act two: “traitors hoist by their own petard?-or victims of the gods?-we shall never know!” (Stoppard 82). They die at the threshold of the new structure, thus lost in the chaotic gap.

When the play opens, the consecrated heterotopias of the monarchy (the magnificence and vitality attributed to the capital city and the court) have already collapsed. In act one and two, for instance, the stage has no visible character; Elsinore and the castle are not real stagnant places with any clear-cut definitions-or at least with a “rough map” (82). When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are in the castle, the exact location they occupy is indistinct. They are deprived of a private adytum-a room perhaps. Rosencrantz expresses this anxiety of no privacy: “never a moment’s peace! In and out, on and off, they’re coming at us from all sides” (73). In the space of emplacement, the hierarchical strategy of places allots a formal respectful place for the monarch to visit his guests or agents. The king, however, runs into the two characters in an unidentified place and never really summons them. Perhaps, if he did not meet them accidentally, he would never check their presence.

Thus, the hierarchy holds no more. The political rationality behind the spatial constructs collapses. The names of places (the road, Elsinore, boat, England) mentioned throughout the play evade remaining the original, present, or final location of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Demarcation between places is confused since the characters neither decide nor move from place to place. During the play, the major cause of bewilderment is that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have harldly any idea why they are where they are. First, they unsuccessfully try to remember who or what forced them to move; second, when arriving at Elsinore, they find nothing they could actually do or nowhere they could move to. When they are on the boat, headed to England in the last act, Rosencrantz expresses his hopelessness and how he lost his belief in spatial reality:

GUIL (leaping up): What a shambles! We're just not getting anywhere. ROS (mournfully): Not even England. I don't believe in it anyway. GUIL: What? ROS: England. GUIL: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, you mean? ROS: I mean I don’t believe it! (Calmer) I have no image. I try to picture us arriving, a little harbor perhaps... roads... inhabitants to point the way... horses on the road... riding for a day or a fortnight and then a palace and the English king... That would be the logical kind of thing... But my mind remains a blank. No. We’re slipping off the map. (108)

The impossibility of action and real movement suggests the notion of the movement of space. All through the play, the main characters keep wandering around the same barren stage. It abruptly changes from the road to Elsinore, from Elsinore to the boat, and from the boat back to Elsinore. This hints the third Foucauldian heterotopic principle: the juxtaposition of several spaces in one site. The stage brings to itself all those spaces with their differently arranged sets of relations so abruply that it confuses Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The point, however, is that the action does not happen on stage, no matter what place it represents; it happens elsewhere - In some nowhere. If the audience of the play brackets off any sort of preknowkledge taken from Hamlet, they have more sympathy for Stoppard’s main characters - because they will witness two characters who are cut off from their empirically known universe. The antiheroes are disabled to figure out who the decision maker is. A boat, for instance, could mean freedom, as Guildenstern interprets it (100); however, “the plot has thickened-a twist of fate and cunning has put into their hands a letter that seals their deaths!” (41). Foucault asserts that heterotopias “are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality” (Foucault, “Of Other Spaces” 4). The stage, on the one hand, is a real place since it actually exists; on the other hand, it is unreal and illusory since the two Elizabethans perceive it when a heterotopia (the placeless place like a mirror) reflects it.

What makes the toleration of the slippery spaces even harder is that they lack the stability of a heterotopic function. Foucault contends that the functions of heterotopias change; and also that “each heterotopia has a precise and determined function within a society and the same heterotopia can, according to the synchrony of the culture in which it occurs, have one function or another” (Foucault, “Of Other Spaces” 5). Therefore, in the play, a chaotic juxtaposition of heterotopic functions is witnessed that multiplies Rosencrantz’s and Guildenstern’s bewilderment; this is due to the lack of the legitimate power structure: the ongoing, yet concealed tensions of the court affect the spatial relations “which are irreducible to one another and absolutely not superimposable on one another” (3). The reason why Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are hardly capable of making sense of their location is mainly because they observe the aberration of the regular function. An outstanding example is the impressive, frequently cited coin tossing game of the first act; the two men have been “spinning coins since-(He releases him almost as violently.) This is not the first time we have spun coins!” and all that comes up is “heads” (Stoppard 14). The aberration of the law of probability already hints the mess and helplessness which is to come.

The fifth principle of heterotopias to which Foucault refers constitutes a contradiction or paradox. Foucault gives an example of the Brazilian farm houses whose doors are open to everyone to spend a night or two. However, the open doors lead to a bedroom excluded from the place where the family lives (8). In Stoppard’s play this is shown by the fact that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are summoned by Claudius, so they are included in Hamlet’s plot. Nonetheless, they are excluded simultaneously since they are deprived of any actual role to play or any decision to make; they participate not as subjects (doers) but only as negligible objects in the actions of the play.

It is possible to establish a link between the confusion of heterotopic functions and power structure. In fact, in the presence of the power structure, the process of objectification happens; this gives an illusion of order and identity to the subjects. Thus, they find fixed significations attached to places, and fixed things to do in them. Nevertheless, when the “subjectified” aristocrats, or the slots who hold the power but who are not the source of discipline, are absent, the subjects fail to relate to the world (Rabinov 11). Probably before the murder of Hamlet’s father, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern knew who they were - or supposed so; but right after the illumination of Hamlet about the anomalies of the court they start losing themselves. The conventional laws of the universe (the law of probability, one’s birth name and birth place, etc.) vanish. In fact, the knowledge and order produced by the power structure fades away. Guildenstern in act two holds:

Wheels have been set in motion, and they have their own pace, to which we are... condemned. Each move is dictated by the previous one-that is the meaning of order. If we start being arbitrary it'll just be a shambles: at least, let us hope so. Because if we happened, just happened to discover, or even suspect, that our spontaneity was part of their order, we’d know that we were lost. (He sits.) A Chinaman of the T’ang Dynasty- and, by which definition, a philosopher-dreamed he was a butterfly, and from that moment he was never quite sure that he was not a butterfly dreaming it was a Chinese philosopher. Envy him, in his two-fold security. (60)

Here, he confesses that without those wheels in motion (power structure) he is left with nothing. Interiorization of dictation is order and arbitrariness is chaos. He feels so lost and tangled in multiple space relations that he envies the ancient, refined skepticism.

The abrupt changes of place and their indefiniteness can be explained in Foucauldian terms. They are not able to perceive the spaces they inhabit since those spaces have turned into “zones of darkness”, “zones of disorder” (152). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, consequently, turn into two wandering nonsensical figures who talk and act absurdly. There is no more “a transparent society, visible and legible in each of its parts” (152). When a power structure is fully formed and operating, it defines roles and identity categories through the introduction of the socio-political classifications for the subjects. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern lack the roles. They do not know exactly and confidently from where they have come, where they are, and to where they are headed. No clarifying material is available to them except for the vague remembrance of a sudden summon, and the abrupt entrances and exits of the king and courtiers. Absent is the essential element on which Foucault insists in “The Eye of Power”: observation. Due to the convulsive situation of the court, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are too insignificant to be observed. “The total and circulating mistrust” which is crucial for the maintenance of a power structure is gone (158). The mistrust reinforces the surveillance of the subjects, thus, it necessitates spatial distribution of and role definition for them; and consequently, gives identity to the subjects.

The Player and his Tragedians along with the borrowed plot of Hamlet structure the dramatic irony in Stoppard’s play. They are present anywhere Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are. The Player’s expressions give hints about the two courtiers’ circumstances; and the tragedians’ play rehearsal-to which the eponymous characters remain ignorant-foreshadows their impending absurd death. As a matter of fact, most words that come out of the Player’s mouth must have come out of Rosencrantz’s and/or Guildenstern’s. For instance, in act two, when the tragedians are rehearsing Hamlet’s given plot, the Player warns Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about the governing pseudo-logic of life:

PLAYER: . . . There’s a design at work in all art-surely you know that? Events must play themselves out to aesthetic, moral and logical conclusion. GUIL: And what’s that, in this case? PLAYER: It never varies-we aim at the point where everyone who is marked for death dies. GUIL: Marked? PLAYER: Between “just desserts” and “tragic irony” we are given quite a lot of scope for our particular talent. Generally speaking, things have gone about as far as they can possibly go when things have got about as bad as they reasonably get. (He switches on a smile.) GUIL: Who decides? PLAYER (switching off his smile): Decides? It is written. . . . We’re tragedians, you see. We follow directions-there is no choice involved. The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means. (79-80)

Moreover, a relation between the significance of the Player and the purpose of the gaze is at work. When, for the first time, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern run into the tragedians on the road to Elsinore, the Player expresses his need for an audience; the tragedians are ready to do anything to keep the two courtiers watching. Later on, in act two, in the second encounter of the tragedians and the two courtiers, the Player expresses the inconvenience he felt when he found out that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were gone:

PLAYER: We can’t look each other in the face! (Pause, more in control.) You don't understand the humiliation of it-to be tricked out of a single assumption, which makes our existence viable-that somebody is watching.... The plot was two corpses gone before we caught sight of ourselves, stripped naked in the middle of nowhere and pouring ourselves down a bottomless well. (63)

And he resumes:

PLAYER: We’re actors... We pledged our identities, secure in the conventions of our trade; that someone would be watching. And then, gradually, no one was. We were caught, high and dry. . . . Even then, habit and a stubborn trust that our audience spied upon us from behind the nearest bush, forced our bodies to blunder on long after they had emptied of meaning, until like runaway carts they dragged to a halt. No one came forward. No one shouted at us. The silence was unbreakable, it imposed itself upon us; it was obscene. (64)

The Player finds it humiliating not to be watched. This “assumption” gives him identity. This gaze is the power machine which employs and combines the subjects. Apparently man, in a poststructuralist context, is bereft of any inherent role or identity, and only exists functionally. To keep his false identity, Guildenstern sneers at and raises objections to the Player’s words. Both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern may no more be aware of the fact that they act since they are being watched; these empty slots fit in with their roles right after the roles and norms fill them in. The phrase “stripped naked in the middle of nowhere and pouring ourselves down a bottomless well” is literally referring to the uninhabited road to Elsinore. However, considering it a cluster of words which should warn Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about their circumstance, it becomes significant. Regarding the Foucauldian idea of spatial identity, it signifies the lack of spatial manipulation which renders the very space and its inhabitants meaningless - there is a set of relations impossible to comprehend.

Geographical directions help subjects identify the space they inhabit; they delimit spaces so that we call them southern, western, northern, and so forth. From a Foucauldian point of view, however, geographical directions are heterotopias on the grounds that they are conventional. They are created for technical convenience. In Stoppard’s play the geographical directions are lost as a consequence of political agitation. Guildenstern expresses the inefficiency of the directions in act three, when the two find themselves on the boat: “We act on scraps of information . . . sifting half-remembered directions that we can hardly separate from instinct” (102). Direction is of crucial significance for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; in a world with no direction, whether geographical or spiritual, the concepts such as orientation and destination, along with the ethical ideals lose their foothold. At the beginning of the play, they resist the lack of purpose. As Guildenstern puts in act one:

We have not been… picked out... simply to be abandoned... set loose to find our own way... We are entitled to some direction... I would have thought. (20)

But as the play proceeds, they gradually surrender to their death “in the middle of nowhere” (63). In the last act, when they absentmindedly open the sealed letter to find out that they are carrying Hamlet’s death warrant, they do not much trouble their conscience; they manage to justify the matter by a word play - or sophistry; and when Rosencrantz is not yet satisfied with that kind of justification, Guildenstern, despite his predominant logical side, wants him not to “apply logic” or “justice” (111).

In act two, Guildenstern’s pseudo-logical discussion with Rosencrantz establishes the direction of the wind, the position of the sun, or the geographical directions prove insufficient (55-56). For, there seems to be no firm, objective basis to which he could refer. Therefore, in a circumstance where rationality does not equal objectivity, the world is rendered meaningless. Finally, in the third act, he loses “all [his] capacity for disbelief” and “could [not] even rise to a little gentle skepticism” (100).

Foucault, at the end of his “Of Other Spaces,” takes boats as “heterotopias par excellence.” For, they are self-contained places floating on the infinite waters; a boat or a ship is “a place without a place” (9). Boats, as heterotopias, can travel to all the remaining places to enrich man’s imagination, to challenge the existing heterotopias. Therefore, a sense of freedom is attached to them. In Stoppard’s play, initially, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern cherish this freedom. Gradually, however, it is disturbed since they are free to act, free to move, and free to talk but within limits! Being in the world, even in a placeless place, inevitably subjects Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to “incidents,” to spatial relations (Stoppard 118). Therefore, death, “the ultimate negative,” saves them from the chaos although it is itself the consequence of incidents (108).


Foucault’s study of power relations in space focuses on the piecemeal fashion of the formation of Capitalism while Stoppard borrows his characters and plot from Shakespeare. Nevertheless, since in any form of political system manipulation of the subjects is of prime importance, and heterotopias have always existed in all cultures, a Foucauldian reading of Stoppard’s play is justifiable. Due to the tumultuous situation of the court, regularization of the society is aberrant. When the cultural constructs and heterotopias cease to be manipulated to give the illusion of order, regardless of their whatness and arrangements, the consequence is bafflement. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern lack sense of belonging, trust, or even mistrust to which they could relate to gain identity, and thus they sink in disbelief and absurdity.


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1The word “gaze,” that Foucault employs, explains “the system of surveillance” he identifies in Bentham’s panopticon, as opposed to the system of monarchical power. “In reality power is only exercised at a cost.” Foucault justifies that monarchical power is “too costly in proportion to its results.” On the contrary, a panoptical system “involves very little expense. There is no need for arms, physical violence, material constraints. Just a gaze. An inspecting gaze, a gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorizing to the point that he is his own overseer, each individual thus exercising this surveillance over, and against, himself. A superb formula: power exercised continuously and for what turns out to be a minimal cost” (155).

2 Foucault, in the first volume of his The History of Sexuality, rejects “the repressive hypothesis” of law. He contends, instead, that “power is productive.” This means that power does not repress divergent actions which preexist the law; in contrast, it produces the categories, relations, and actions that it regulates. There are even actions which are not desirable; once, however, they are announced to be prohibited by law, subjects start to consider them as deviations from the norm (1502-1503). This concept of space is inveterate in Foucault primary notion of power which has no direction or teleological cause. Refer to his “The Eye of Power” where he explains the power machine which catches every one, even its pseudo-generators (156).

3The Persian garden, whose shape symbolizes the whole universe, is one of the examples Foucault gives for this function. Another example is the theatre which brings on stage different places and times; cinema is still another instance: “on a two-dimensional screen, one sees the projection of a three-dimensional space” (6).

4The entrance permission to some heterotopias such as Moslem hammams and Scandinavian saunas requires either religious or hygienic purifications (7).

Received: February 14, 2016; Accepted: May 24, 2016

MA in English Literature from Kharazmi University of Tehran, Iran. Her current research focuses on postmodernism and modern drama. Her email is

Assistant professor of English Literature at University of Kharazmi, Iran. He has published articles on Persian and comparative literature, as well as American ethnic minorites' fiction. He also has published a book in Persian on War Fiction and has another under publication about magical realism in Iran. His email address is

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