Language has been studied and analyzed for centuries. Philosophers, linguists, logicians, and others have accumulated a rich store of knowledge about language. What has emerged, however, is not a uniform, generally accepted theory but a rich picture full of salient details, brilliant insights, ambiguities, and contradictions. Most of this work has focused on analyzing language as an object, rather than on the process of language comprehension or production. The importance of the actual process of language comprehension has not gone unrecognized, for instance, by literary scholars who have understood very well the role that the process of reception plays in the appreciation of a literary work, yet the tools for explicit modeling of comprehension processes have not been available until quite recently. 1
All of this occurs to the viewer before the central event of the painting (as announced in the painting's title) reveals itself to his attention: the splash of a pair of legs as the fallen Icarus plunges into the sea. In the lower right-hand corner of the painting, the painfully splayed legs, their delicate pinkness, are all that we see of the fallen mythological figure. They are caught at that precise instant that this symbol of human pride or hubris is about to disappear forever from the world's attention (ironically, of course, in a world where no one is paying attention). We are the only ones who will ever know. All of the energies of the painting lead away from this disturbing and important event: the plowman and shepherd, oblivious, go about their business, as does the fully-rigged boat (also moving toward the left), sailing away from the fallen figure. .
French social theorist Michel Foucault developed a notion of discourse in his early work, especially the Archaeology of knowledge (1972). In Discursive Struggles Within Social Welfare: Restaging Teen Motherhood ,  Iara Lessa summarizes Foucault's definition of discourse as "systems of thoughts composed of ideas, attitudes, courses of action, beliefs and practices that systematically construct the subjects and the worlds of which they speak." Foucault traces the role of discourses in wider social processes of legitimating and power, emphasizing the construction of current truths, how they are maintained and what power relations they carry with them." Foucault later theorized that discourse is a medium through which power relations produce speaking subjects.  Foucault (1977, 1980) argued that power and knowledge are inter-related and therefore every human relationship is a struggle and negotiation of power.  Foucault further stated that power is always present and can both produce and constrain the truth.  Discourse according to Foucault (1977, 1980, 2003) is related to power as it operates by rules of exclusion. Discourse therefore is controlled by objects, what can be spoken of; ritual, where and how one may speak; and the privileged, who may speak.  Coining the phrases power-knowledge Foucault (1980) stated knowledge was both the creator of power and creation of power. An object becomes a "node within a network." In his work, The Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault uses the example of a book to illustrate a node within a network. A book is not made up of individual words on a page, each of which has meaning, but rather "is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences." The meaning of that book is connected to a larger, overarching web of knowledge and ideas to which it relates.