The Pros And Cons Of Civil Disobedience

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The act of violating the laws and authority of the state is justified only when the measures taken by the state are contrary to the morals, ethics, and public opinion of the governed. On the occasion that truly “unjust” rule is forced upon a citizenry, violating that authority can be validated. The factors which contribute to an unjust governance are the states’ adherence to common morality, the power structure of the government, how closely it follows the public will, and the ethical consideration taken by the power. Civil disobedience, however, must be exercised cautiously and with extreme restraint, because if the private individual has the power to neglect the law due to personal interest, the society will deteriorate into chaos. Although Sophocles’ Antigone and Plato’s Crito do not exhibit a shared interpretation of when it is justified to disobey the state, considering both pieces will strengthen an understanding of when it is appropriate to practice a degree of law breaking. In Sophocles’ Antigone, the sister of a fallen “traitor” wishes to perform the proper burial, which has been outlawed by the autocratic ruler, Creon. After recognizing that the law is unfair and violating the more truthful “law of the god,” the heroin Antigone objects, attempts to bury her brother, is caught, argues with King Creon, and is sentenced to death. Antigone dies believing she did the right thing, following the gods and doing the just thing, and Creon wins politically, at first, then
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