Utopia As A Dystopia

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An utopia is often imagined as a perfect place, one without the major problems and worries of contemporary society; a dystopia however is exactly the opposite: not only is it an unpleasant place but one that is truly corrupt. In Utopia by Thomas More, a sailor named Raphael explains to Thomas his observations of a nation radically different from their own. The Utopians live in a communal society where all goods are public property and where there is no concept of money. At first glance, Utopia seems flawless, but a closer look reveals the inner darkness and failures of their culture. The Utopians’ expectation for maintaining an efficient society forces them to surrender their human dignity. Specifically, the illusion of perfection and purity is lost in their concept of religion, perception of self-worth, and fear of strife. The Utopians’ expectations of effectively worshipping religion allows an image of acceptance to reveal a reality of intolerance. When Raphael describes the Utopians view of religion, he mentions one belief that no one can have. He says “[The leader of Utopia] strictly and solemnly forbade his people to believe… that the soul dies with the body… if you’re not afraid of anything but prosecution… you’ll always be trying to evade or break the laws of your country”(101). This shows that the Utopians use religion as a way to keep control of the public; their supposed principle of “ toleration” is only effective to an extent that the belief does not disrupt the social order. The Utopians believe that anyone that has a view that does not encourage obedience “has forfeited his right to be classed as a human being… [even less] as a Utopian citizen”(101). Later, Raphael also describes the specific way that the Utopians o... ... middle of paper ... ...rfection and order quickly dissolves to betray a foundation of intolerance, human indignity, and fear. Their religion is merely a way to manipulate and control their people; they only value a person for their utility; they allow worry of disorder to destroy free will. Utopia seems like the perfect place to live, but a truly perfect society should be perfect for everyone. Utopia is an example of a society that solves many of the problems of Thomas More’s time, but compromises on the key principles that allow for human choice. Utopia is a cautionary tale of what happens when people forget the what it means to be human: flaws, greed, dissent, lust, but most importantly love. Throughout the course of the book, the concept of love is nearly nonexistent; knowing this, if Utopos, the founder of Utopia, founds his society on this basis then perfection just might be possible.

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