An Analysis of Sir Thomas More's Utopia

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A utopian community would be a world without oppression, discrimination or social hierarchy—essentially, an ideal place to live. However, does a perfect society really exist? In Sir Thomas More's Utopia, More flirts with the concept of a utopian community with regard to geography, city structure, labor, government and religion. Considering these aspects, the community depicted in Utopia is primarily a success, with limited failures.

In Book II of Utopia, Raphael Hythloday, a traveler who visited Utopia, describes the geography of the island. He states, "The channels are known only to the Utopians, so hardly any strangers enter the bay" (31). This isolation has been a success for the inhabitants of Utopia because it has allotted the freedom to function however they want. Also, limited entryways provide excellent protection against enemy attacks and the small bay allows easy transportation to the various cities. Isolation however, does have a negative aspect. The lack of external influence decreases the exposure to innovative ideas regarding, for example agriculture and transportation. This lack of contact limits the community's potential for growth and improvement. The geography of Utopia lends itself to positive and negative aspects of community, however isolation is more of a success than a failure.

The structure of the city and arrangement of housing also proves to be successful for the community of Utopia. Being that the streets are wide and well thought out, traffic can flow better. The doors to the various houses are constructed of two leaves that "open easily…letting anyone enter who wants to… so there is no private property" (34). This concept of communal property is successful because it decreases the possibility for a social hierarchy based on material items. Also, the lack of seclusion is conducive to forming close friendships, thus strengthening communal bonds. Not having privacy could lead to a feeling of paranoia that one's...
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