Stand Up For Your Beliefs Essay

1116 words - 4 pages

Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most prominent African-American civil rights leaders, said, “man who won't die for something is not fit to live.” In the play Antigone, Sophocles uses Antigone and Haimon’s rebellious characters as they stand up to Kreon’s authority to risk their lives for their own respective beliefs. Similar to the rebellious characters in Antigone, in Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, Nwoye and Okonkwo disobey authority and voice their own opinions. Achebe and Sophocles use characters who challenge authority to reveal the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs, regardless of the consequences.
Antigone risks her own life to bury her brother, therefore, she goes against Kreon’s edict that Polyneices should be left unburied; she believes Polyneices deserves to reach the afterlife. Antigone tells Ismene, “I will bury him myself. If I die for doing that, good: I will stay with him, my brother; and my crime will be devotion” (Sophocles 23). Antigone is willing to risk her own life by disobeying the king’s authority; She stands up for her religious belief that Polyneices should be buried. Kreon tells Antigone before she takes her own life, “I won’t encourage you. You’ve been condemned” (Sophocles 57). Kreon believes that Antigone’s crime is severe, and righteousness should be used to justify her crime. At this point of the play, Antigone realizes she will be put to death, but she does not regret her act of loyalty. In Antigone’s last speech before she takes her own life, she exclaims, “Land of Thebes, city of my fathers… see what I suffer at my mother’s brother’s hand for an act of loyalty and devotion” (Sophocles 57). Here, Antigone addresses the nation’s leaders and declares that they should notice the consequence of her loyal act in helping her brother. However, even after Antigone acknowledges her consequence of death, she professes to her dead brother, “I was right to honor you” (Sophocles 56). Adhering to her religious beliefs of a proper burial, Antigone goes against authority knowing the consequence; Antigone’s action supports Sophocles’ lesson of standing up for one’s beliefs, regardless of the circumstances.
Once the Christians took control over the Ibo tribe, Okonkwo believes that the Ibo should violently overthrow the new authority, despite the fact that his consequence could be death or prison time. Obierika tells Okonkwo, “He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart” (Achebe 176). The Christians’ authority frustrates Okonkwo and Obierika as the Christian influence degrades the Ibo culture: the only culture Okonkwo and Obierika have ever known. While talking to Obierika, Okonkwo asks, “What is it that happened to our people? Why have they lost the power to fight?” (175). Here, Okonkwo, frustrated by the lack of Ibo rebellion against Christian authority, adheres to his own belief that “we must fight these men and drive them from the land” (176). Similar to Antigone...

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