Utopia, By Thomas More And Communist Manifesto, By Karl Marx

2252 words - 9 pages

George Gilliam Marx/More Comparative Essay English 215 In both Thomas More’s Utopia and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, we see the authors portray two different visions of an improved reality in which all citizens are on an equal plane with one another. Both works stem from the authors’ own grievances regarding the ‘status quo’, and seek to provoke serious thought and (in Marx’s case) action about the existing state of affairs in their respective times. The context of both of these works is quite important when considering the substance of Utopia and the Communist Manifesto – Thomas More lived in a time when Europe’s government was based on of Feudalism, meaning royal families and rich nobles had the overwhelming majority of power. Marx lived during the Industrial Revolution, when class antagonisms became rather aggressive due to the major gap between rich and poor (Bourgeois and Proletariat) as a result of the greater need for a large number of workers and the subsequent wealthy minority. Utopia and the Communist Manifesto are similar in the way that they propose or at least stir visions of major changes in ideology, but both have a number of key differences as well. More’s Utopia is more like a fictional story on the surface, but of course there is a great deal of depth to this piece of literature. Utopia is set mainly as a conversation between three men: More, Hythloday, and Giles. Hythloday is arguably the most significant character in this story, as he is the one relaying all of the information about the land of Utopia to More. Hythloday went on many explorations with Amerigo Vespucci, and came across the island “Utopia” in his travels – there he had the opportunity to act almost like an anthropologist, observing and studying the ways of the Utopians. Before Hythloday goes into his first-hand accounts of this Utopian society, he briefly describes why Europe is not an ideal world. First, Hythloday explains that maintaining a standing army merely allows for a population of soldiers who could potentially become very good thieves. He also explains that the peasants in Europe are greatly exploited by the nobles, and are left with almost no other options for survival other than “banditry”. Essentially, Hythloday proclaims that the European society “manufactures thieves and then blames them for being thieves.” Hythloday then goes on to explain that there can be no ‘ideal world’ without the abolishment of public property – communal property must be established. Hythloday argues that private property alone is the cause for a large majority of people who are dissatisfied. He also brings up Plato, who in The Republic proclaims that communal property is the foundation for the ultimate city. More, in the story of Utopia, responds negatively to Hythloday’s call for common property – I should note, however, that More’s character in the story shares very different opinions than Sir Thomas More himself. Hythloday continues to explain Utopian society in...

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