Similarities Between Antigone And Martin Luther King

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Civil disobedience is defined as the refusal to obey the demands or certain laws of a government/ occupying power. Without resorting to violence or active events of conflict, it is typically used in the form of a peaceful protest. Civil disobedience has been seen in historical context as a main approach and philosophy of nationalist movements in Africa, India, and also in the American civil rights movement. It can also be a useful tactic in labor, anti-war, and other social movements occurring in numerous countries around the world. In both Sophocles’ Antigone and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, the author describes two very different displays of civil disobedience. Antigone disobeyed “man’s law” and buried her brother. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the other hand, fought to change the law for the rights of a large group of people. For this reason, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts were more admirable than the efforts of Antigone. In Sophocles’ piece, King Kreon prohibited the burial of Polynices, Antigone’s brother, because he was seen as a traitor to his country. Antigone blatantly disobeyed King Kreon’s proclamation because she thought that Polynices ought to be buried not only because he was blood- family, but because the gods law states that burial is a necessary ceremony. Her sister, Ismene, tried to warn her of the trouble she could find herself in, if King Kreon finds out that it was Antigone who had buried her brother, the traitor. (Blondell, 21). In addition, Antigone does not hesitate to admit to this illegal deed when the guards catch her in the act (Blondell, 37,38). While she acted out of respect for her brother and the gods, it was selfish in the fact that she was only thinking of herself. She did not hesitate to disregard King Kreon’s law and did not take any factor into consideration. Antigone accepted that her life was the price to pay for her civil disobedience, but her actions also, unintentionally, led to the death of two other people. Although, in the end, King Kreon sees that Antigone was right, the reason for which she had fought, and ultimately lost her life for, had no significant positive effect on anyone else. In the Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin
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