IB English, Period 4
January 1, 2013
Civil Disobedience and Antigone
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech focuses on the importance of freedom and brotherhood in a nation and is intended to rally Americans to demonstrate their anger at the injustices of segregation and racism through “creative protest.” While King’s passion and anger at the status quo is obvious in the text, he specifically states that they “must not allow [their] [protest] to degenerate into physical violence.” He is pushing for defiance against the government. Antigone exhibits the same kind of defiance when she goes against Creon’s law and completes her brother’s burial rites. Antigone, like Martin Luther King Jr., was faced with conflicting obligations; the obligation of a citizen to follow the law, and personal obligation to fight what one feels is wrong. A theme appears in both texts that one’s morals are more important than the law of the land. Antigone sacrificed her life to complete what she felt needed to be completed based on her religious beliefs. King dedicated his life to obtaining freedom for black people in America and was eventually killed for what he believed in, linking the two. If Sophocles and Martin Luther King Jr. were to have a conversation, the two would most certainly agree on some things. Both would agree that one must follow their heart and fight things they feel must be changed. They would agree that one must not stand idly by as injustice takes place, such as segregation or the body of one’s brother left to rot above the ground. While Antigone is not a central figure in a civil rights movement, she does exhibit civil disobedience, bridging the “I Have a Dream” speech and Antigone.