Regarding the Pain of Others - Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

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Sontag reminds the reader to be aware of what it means to look at pictures of cruelties and crimes. The human attraction to things morbid and gruesome is long established. Sontag offers an example story from Plato, where young Leontius is compelled, despite his disgust, to look upon the corpses of executed criminals. She also offers examples from Edmund Burke and William Shakespeare which also attest to man's attraction to pain and cruelty.

Erotic theorist Georges Bataille, Sontag reveals, for many years kept a horrific picture on his desk. The picture, taken in China in the year 1910, shows a prisoner undergoing "the death of a hundred cuts." Already deprived of arms, the subject is in the process of being flayed alive by the knives of several men. Bataille admits to being obsessed with the image, which he considers both ecstatic and intolerable.

Sontag theorizes that...

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This section contains 299 words
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