More’s Utopia

Thomas More’s utopia brings up many similar themes as Plato’s Republic. Both explained what they thought a perfect world would be like. Each piece claimed they advocated for gender equality. However, I think they both truly failed in that department. In More’s Utopia, it is even more apparent that he seems women as inferior to men. Women were seldom mentioned, unless they were attached to housework, being a wife, or being a mother. Women do have the opportunity to work, but it mainly consists of jobs such as clothes making; as they must, “leave the ruder trades to the men.” They are allowed education, however, as More stresses a society in which knowledge, and power of the mind are seen as crucial elements in a life full of happiness.

Another part that seems pretty ridiculous in this utopia, is the family set up. Women are married away after eighteen, and then are solely in the family to bear children and serve their husbands. If the number of children a couple has exceeds the limit, the children are relocated to  a couple who aren’t as “fruitful.” The men are the leaders of the household and they are allowed slaves. Slaves consist of either criminals or the poor of a neighboring city and they are always enchained. This family style seems extremely outdated and not progressive at all, especially for a utopia. The fact that they have slaves at all is absolutely absurd. Although More suggests some progressive ideas such as the intensive care for the sick, and the inability to turn away any ill person; his perfect world seems awfully outdated. Like Plato, a world free of unhappiness consists of an abundance of governmental control. To the amount of children a couple can have, to the person you’re allowed to marry, to the availability of travel– everything is controlled but the government. This isn’t a perfect world, this is close to the world we live in now – which is anything but perfect.

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2 thoughts on “More’s Utopia

  1. I also found More’s description of how the family was set up a bit absurd. Even in other parts of Utopia, More describes women as having limited options in society while men on the other hand were able to take more roles and even have slaves at one point.

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  2. I think that it is great how you point out the fact that both More and Plato claim to be gender equality advocates but their opinions cannot be related to that. It is astonishing how they both show no emotion about family bonds and would so easily break them for control. This is not as utopian as they would think, since all this type of society is based on control.

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