Antigone And Civil Disobedience Analysis

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The balance between the law of the state and natural, or divine law is a topic that has been scrutinized for thousands of years. Antigone by Sophocles and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. share similar standpoints on the controversial matter that has baffled philosophers. Sophocles uses Antigone to assert his opinion, as she disobeys Creon’s law and buries her brother, Polyneices. Similarly, King structures his plan of nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to curtail racial injustice and segregation. While there are many similarities, each text has several technicalities regarding civil disobedience that differ. Although Antigone and Martin Luther King Jr. both believe that individuals have the right to disobey unjust laws, their justification for disobedience differs, the conflicts vary, and their motives are not parallel.
Antigone by Sophocles and “Letter
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As stated in “What Civil Disobedience Is”, “Civil disobedience is an act of protest, deliberately unlawful, conscientiously and publicly performed” (Cohen 39). In most cases, civil disobedience is caused by an individual transgressing an unjust law in favor of a higher, unwritten law. Usually, civil disobedience occurs in a non-violent fashion as well. For instance, King proclaims that protest will be done “peacefully, openly, cheerfully, because our aim is to persuade” (qtd. in Cohen 40). A significant characteristic of civil disobedience is the fact that it is done peacefully, conscientiously, and publicly. There have been many examples of civil disobedience throughout world history. For example, “Honoring Martin Luther King Jr,” states that Gandhi defied British colonial laws, as the Salt March was aimed at the British salt tax and its control over colonial India (1). Gandhi’s act of civil disobedience in India was a major influence to King as

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