A Comparison of Utopia and The Handmaidens Tale

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Texts which represent imagined societies vary considerable, depending on their contexts and the values underlying them. Compare the representations of Utopia and The Handmaidens Tale, exploring how different contexts and different values create different meanings. Thomas More’s acclaimed satirical novel, Utopia exhibits a fictional society, ‘Utopia’ on which social and philosophical concepts of 16th century England are criticized. In The Handmaiden’s Tale, Margaret Atwood comments on the outcome of extremist fundamentalist views in the forms of abhorrence to feminism. Published in 1985, the novel is heavily influenced by Atwood’s social critiques. Her totalitarian state of the Republic of Gilead demonstrates her frustration against movements that deny feminism and also criticises religious movements, especially fanatical Christianity in the United States. In both texts, underlying values such as the controversy and reliance upon religion as an authoritarian tool and the issue of women’s rights and equality form a contradictory stance, highlighting that different context and different values can create different meanings within literature. In Utopia and The Handmaiden’s Tale, religion serves as doctrine on which fervent and contentious beliefs are built upon. Through the distortion and pious elucidation of religious values, both imagined societies utilize holy beliefs as an assessment of the righteousness of their actions and the calculation of legitimacy. Thomas More acted as a methodical persecutor of the Protestant religion in 16th century England. At this time, religious supremacy echoed that of the dominant church, with violence commanding over different interpretation of the bible. More decided to remain a lay Christian, but died a martyr for his faith. The society he generates in Utopia, endorses religious toleration, a community without discrimination for faith. Numerous beliefs dwell in Utopia however, all have to meet the following standard,...
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