Utopia by Thomas More: Dystopia Inside Utopia

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A perfect society or a utopian society is a made-up community where political and social ideas are available in the way that there is peace amongst the people. Many people have different perspectives on their own personal Utopia. Thomas More had his own vision of what his Utopia would look like. He wrote a book stating his ideas on how his utopia would work and how there were ways to make the world a better place. However, with the creation of a perfect society or utopia, it also creates a more corrupt society known as a dystopia.

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To begin with, in book two of Utopia, Thomas More talks about how his utopia looks like or the geography of Utopia. His utopia has a weird crescent moon shape that closes in on itself, with a large body of water that looks like a circular barrier to protect the community from the outside world. The large body of water or bay gives access to the people for easy traveling and shipping things from place to place. According to Utopia, Book II, Sir Thomas More states that, “Thus nearly the whole inner coast is one great harbor, across which ships pass in every direction, to the great advantage of the people.” (page 598) The way Thomas More utopia is shaped, gives utopians the ability to remain isolated from the outside world. There is no war or attacks of any kind. Thomas More utopia geography does offer protection and easy transportation of goods and people. As a result, the people are in their own little world not knowing what is beyond the outside of their society. This creates the sense of a corrupt society not giving its people enough freedom.

Next, in Utopia there are fifty-four cities each surrounded by farms where all cities are very highly identical. Every member of each city spends their time doing farm labor such as agriculture to serve their community. The cities do not believe in expanding into a larger city as according to Utopia, Book II, Sir Thomas More states that, “No city wants to enlarge its boundaries, for the inhabitants consider themselves good tenants rather than landlords.” (page 599) Sometimes when a city has done their part of agricultural work, they sometimes have some extra things that they have gathered. Instead of trying to sell the extra stuff earned from the agricultural work, they give it all out for free to its neighboring cities. This way all cities share the same amount of agriculture and no one has more than the other. In other parts of the world, agricultural work was classified as the work of the poor. Those people who were rich did not had to do any agricultural work. In Thomas More Utopia there is no classes of people, and everyone has to do their part of agricultural work for their society. Also, there is no market systems or money in Utopia as the extra gatherings were given out for free to its neighboring cities. This raises the question that without any sort of competition of the market system, it is almost to impossible for a city to grow. In addition, no households in the entire city have their own personal private space that they would like to have. Everyone lives under the same circumstances and no house or person is better than the other. Everyone is equal under one society. Every year a group of thirty households get the chance to elect an official called a syphogrant or known today as a phylarch. Every group of phylarch’s are under a senior phylarch. This sort of dystopia does not give the ability of any person growing bigger than the other. With everyone living the same life, no person can say they are better than the other. This dystopia government of having a group phylarch governed by a senior phylarch is over excessive.

Furthermore, Thomas More describes for how long the people of Utopia work. There is twenty-four hours in a day. Out of those twenty-four hours, Utopians only work for six-hours a day giving them plenty of free time. Utopians also have eight hours of sleep that they use. With all the free time that Utopians have, most of them use it for pursing some sort of mental work. The people in Utopia do farm work and the rest of them do the common wool-working, linen-making, masonry, metalwork, or carpentry. Those people who show a tremendous amount of knowledge into their mental work, do not have to do any of the physical work required by Utopia. The work that is built is kept by the Utopians and the goods they use are easier to make. This creates shorter hours for the Utopians to do hard work. However, the dystopia created here is that again people are not giving the opportunity to grow again as according to Utopia, Book II, Sir Thomas More states that, “There is no other craft that is practiced by any considerable number of them” meaning that everyone works the same jobs with the number of hours. (page 603) If everyone works the same number of hours, no person can increase its knowledge. There might be people that would like to work more hours to try and increase their skills and abilities. A person who works for longer hours, being in competition with another person, can create good skills such as the ambition and the ability to work hard, never give up, and always try to be the best. This is not the case with Utopia as there is no competition and no one is the best at anything.

In conclusion, Thomas Mores’ Utopia describes the perfect society with an isolated island with all of its people being equal. Everyone lives the same life under the same circumstances, no person is better than the other, every person works the same number of hours and everyone does their agricultural work part for their city and society. With all this great Utopia aspects, comes all the terrible aspects of a Dystopia. The unjust of no person having freedom to do as they desire as according to Nell P. Eurich, reviewer of Utopia and the Ideal Society: A Study of English Utopian Writing, “Utopia thus is a complete scheme, a social environment, with the characteristics of totality, order, and perfection. This means, for utopia, a totalitarian kind of existence, the loss of choice (and freedom) for the inhabitants. (page 643) With everyone working the same number of hours, living in the same houses, there is no room for improvement. There is no competition and so no one can be better than the other. This truly means that although people can have a perfect society or a Utopia, there is always a corrupt society or Dystopia forming inside of it.

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