Antigone Analyzed by Martin Luther
Uploaded by ricebr01 on Dec 27, 2008
Martin Luther’s advice to the peasants goes unheeded for several reasons. His ideas are far too pessimistic for the peasant, an everyday “slave;” after all revolution is what built today’s world. The peasants are tired of doing the dirty work of everyday life and having to listen to princes. They are ready for action, and Luther doesn’t want any action. All the peasants need is a reason, and they find it in Luther’s Temporal Authority. It is in his very own writing that Martin Luther undermines his goal. He leaves his work open for interpretation and it is used improperly. Although people know that Luther condemns the peasants for misinterpreting his ideas, most don’t know why the peasants misinterpret; ironically, Luther empowers their (mis)interpretation.
As Martin Luther writes, he sets up at least two standards. God is the ultimate authority. Temporal authority must be followed unless it encroaches on the soul. However, he also seems to contradict himself at times. First he tells the peasants that it is their duty to god to obey the laws made by the princes regardless of the fact that most princes are terrible tyrants. He claims “there is no authority except from God; the authority which everywhere else exists has been ordained by God” (Luther, “Temporal
Authority” 85). He also says that the majority of people are un-Christian, meaning they don’t follow God by nature. “the world and the masses are and always will be un-Christian; even if they are baptized and Christian in name” (Luther, “Temporal Authority” 91). If the world is mostly un-Christian, most princes and peasants are un-Christian. So why would they follow Luther’s advice? If they are not going to heaven,
why live as slaves? It is their duty, to better their lives not only for themselves, but for their progeny. If they are doomed from the beginning, why not revolt? Luther only gives them a reason to act.
Every person can decide for themselves. He says “How he believes or disbelieves is a matter for the conscience of each individual” (Luther, “Temporal Authority” 108). This not only leaves Temporal Authority open to interpretation, but the bible. Every person has a god-given right to choose. This is basic free will. He also argues that “every man runs the risk in believing as he does, and he must see to it himself that he believes rightly. As nobody else can go...