Two works of literature written in two different time periods with so many similarities, ‘Antigone’ by Sophocles and ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ by Dr. Martin Luther King is baffling to say the least. These stories both transcend time and really bring to life the emotions of that particular time. They were persecuted for their beliefs. “Antigone” by Sophocles and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. both shows civil disobedience as a way to take a stand for what the protagonist believes in; the latter is less of a story but more of a rebuttal in writing to those who disagreed with Dr. King’s methods of gaining equality and desegregation of the south.
The two authors saw a need for civil disobedience. In “Antigone” the protagonist decided that despite what the king had said she was going to follow through with her religious and traditional burial rights for her brother. “No, he has no right to keep me from my own.” (Sophocles p. 13) Her brother was deemed a traitor by the king and he forbade anyone to ‘honor’ him by burying or even mourning his death. However, Antigone loved her brother and did not want to dishonor her gods by leaving his body out in the open for the wild animals to pick over and devour. So she completed his burial rights, as she stated to the king that it was not his right to take that away from her brother. “Nor did I think that your edict had such force that you, a mere mortal could override the gods, the great unwritten, unshakeable traditions.” (Sophocles p. 18) The consequences for her actions of going against the king were such that she was buried alive in the tombs. Like Antigone, Dr. King had strong religious faith. In his writings “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” he uses civil disobedience as a way to make people understand the importance of desegregation in the south. His desire was to see an end to segregation in the southern state of Alabama in 1963. Dr. King organized many nonviolent...
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