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Does Utopia describe an ideal society

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Introduction

Does Utopia describe an ideal society? Thomas More was born in London in 1477. More had an extensive education and rose quickly through the Government hierarchy and attained high office. In May 1515 he was appointed to a delegation to help revise an Anglo-Flemish commercial treaty. During this time he began writing Utopia and completed it upon his return to London. Utopia was first published in Latin, at Louvain in December 1516. More added Utopia just before the outbreak of the reformation, during a time when the stresses and corruption that led to the reformation were rapidly increasing towards conflict. Utopia itself depicts what its narrator Hythloday, claimed to be an ideal society. The book became a huge success and founded a literary tradition known as 'the utopian novel'. This tradition is an authors attempt to describe a perfect and ideal society. The book is in two parts, and it is believed that the first was written last and the second was written first. The first book (book 1) is presented as an introduction to book 2 as well as providing commentary to it. It is also viewed by many that the first book was likely to have been written in two parts, firstly, to briefly introduce the characters particularly the narrator: Hythloday. With the second part being of Hythloday giving an extended speech on a number of subjects with some being of a major interest to More the author. ...read more.

Middle

They also take great pride in their gardens thus, presenting an allusion to the biblical garden of Eden again, 'the perfect garden'. In Utopia everyone works and work is limited to only six hours a day as this is all that is necessary and they don't believe that people should work unless they need to. This also give people more free 'private time' for each of them which they can then enjoy and put to proper use. Utopia has no money and people only have the bare necessities that they need as the utopians believe that happiness does not consist of material things such as position and title and as long as a there is property and money in a nation then it will never be governed justly or happily. Utopians do not like war and try to avoid it but each of their men is still trained in military expertise just in case. They believe a glorious a war is a victory when no blood has been shed, where as a bloody war tends to trouble them. They do not take part in wars that can be avoided and only declare war if they believe there is no other possible way to resolve the problem. "Their one aim in wartime is to get what they've previously failed to get by peaceful means - or, if that's out of the question, to punish the offenders so severely that nobody will ever do such a thing again. ...read more.

Conclusion

For some people it would seem the utopians are under a false consciousness of being happy and in a perfect and ideal society. Because they are so intensely conditioned for example, from the minute they start education they are forced into agricultural labour and monitored to make good use of their spare time throughout their adulthood by continuing their knowledge and education which for some people they may have other interests which they may not be able to explore because of these rules imposed upon them. It would also seem that Utopians lack independence, individuality and freedom as they never have a day off from work or study even when they go travelling they have to continue to work. They all dress the same, eat together and each of their houses always has an open door which also means their personal space and privacy would be extremely limited. One of the main criticisms as seeing Utopia as an ideal society is that the word Utopia itself means 'no place' and it's main character Hythloday translates into 'expert in nonsense'. Showing that overall, More may not have perceived Utopia a society of idealism and perfection, but it would seem that many of Utopia's policies offer criticisms and resolutions to the problems he saw in Europe at the time, and so it is vital to see that this book is a response to a specific historical period. ...read more.

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