All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Leonard K Grimes

Advisory Committee Members

Daniel J Siegel

Seth Reno

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


This thesis explores the differences between passiveness in Percy Shelley and Martin Luther King Jr.’s works by sectioning it off into types of passiveness: positive and negative passivity. Positive passivity is equated with a non-violent resistance, and negative passivity is the refusal or fear of acknowledging evil. Shelley and King agree that this type of evil is the most prominent among common people. In Shelley’s, Cenci, Mask of Anarchy, and Prometheus Unbound, readers can see how he is using minor characters and some major characters to illustrate oppression. King’s works, however, use personal examples and a more direct narrative. Even though they use different methods of persuasion, they use Christ as a main element in their rhetoric to appeal to more people about the problematic nature of negative passivity. Shelley and King’s writings specifically argue that passiveness is bane of progression, so for a people to overcome tyranny, they must first confront their fear and apathy.