Similarities Between Letter From Birmingham Jail And Antigone

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When selecting a leader for any hierarchical position, the commonwealth put their confidence in someone who will put their society’s best interest first. Sometimes these leaders take their power too far and begin enacting regulations that oppress certain individuals. The oppressed occasionally find ways to retaliate against this injustice. In regards to this concept of civil disobedience, transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau once said, “Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them…or shall we transgress them at once?” Few people have elected to transgress these laws throughout the course of history. Both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letters from Birmingham Jail” and Antigone from Sophocles’ Antigone represent civil disobedience as …show more content…

King’s nonviolent approach of ending the conducts of discrimination in America. The fundamental rules in a Greek society once revolved around traditions and the unwritten words of the gods. At times, mortal leaders would gain power and enforce their written laws that opposed the ideologies of the gods. This conflict between unwritten and written laws is best exemplified in Sophocles’ Antigone with King Kreon’s rule. Kreon gained the throne through a war between brothers Eteokles and Polyneices who were both killed in the battle. Kreon only chooses to bury Eteokles, leaving Polyneices’ body as carrion and creates a law preventing anyone from burying him. This law defies the god, Hades’, request for all mortals to have a proper burial so they will enter the underworld. Antigone, Polyneices’ sister, is a firm believer of following the laws of the heavens over the laws of the land and states, “I’ll lie there with my dear friend. I’ve performed this crime of piety for I must please those down below a longer time than those up here, since I shall lie there always” (Sophocles 73-76). Antigone believes that since the majority of her family is deceased, her afterlife is more important than her current …show more content…

Martin Luther King Jr. and Antigone were both minorities of their times. Antigone, a woman, and Dr. King, an African American, suffered through unjust laws and oppression. Both activists fought hard through civil disobedience for the greater good, but had different ways and means of attaining results. Antigone’s desire to maintain the traditions of interpreting her god’s laws results in untimely, spiteful deaths. Meanwhile, Dr. King’s “Letters from Birmingham Jail” used carefully thought out words to enforce nonviolence and create a rimming response. While Dr. King and Antigone may have had somewhat similar views in regards to fighting against an oppressor, their actions were polar opposites with Dr. King’s passive written words and Antigone’s suicide. Regardless of their differences, both Dr. King and Antigone had their desires fulfilled, even if they were not fully present when this occurred. This proves that while civil disobedience can arise in many forms, it can be an effective way to combat corruption in any

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