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In this work Foucault analyzes the role of what he calls madness in the western civilization In Stultifera Navis he describes the disappearance of leprosy and the emergence of madness in its place Since the confinement within towns only seemed to attract more madmen so exile on a ship particularly the Narrenschiff or Ship of Fools was among the first solutions Why the confinement of lepers and instead expulsion of madmen Madmen were seen as ambiguous and thus dangerous They were an outer limit The Narresnschiff had an effect of relegating madness into nothingness After the Middle Ages madness became like death Madness is linked to man and his weaknesses dreams and illusions 26 Instead of something like a vice it was a weakness It was a death in life to be mad For instead of truth and the world a madman understood only his own truth of himself this creates a detachment from the world death It was death because it threatened life and reason Madness took up the role of death but also became linked to the theme of apocalypse the end of the world Foucault feels that madness was a way of expressing and locating concerns about the darker side of life and fear about the end of the world Instead of the end as a passage and promise it represented darkness where reason is lost This is hard for me to stomach however when I try to relate it to his allusion to Cervantes and Don Quixote Madness dissipated can be only the same thing as the imminence of the end and even one of the signs by which they realized that the sick man Quixote was that he had returned so easily from madness to reasonbeyond the end of a life which yet had been delivered from madness by this very end 32 Madness is a death but here in Cervantes the death of a madman
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