This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Utopia The Impossibility Of Perfection

1669 words - 7 pages

Utopia - The Impossibility of Perfection

"The latter end of [this] commonwealth forgets the beginning." ?William Shakespeare, The Tempest

From Plato's The Republic to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, the search for a perfect social state has never stopped; its ultimate goal of achieving a human society that exists in absolute harmony with all due social justice, however, has proved to be woefully elusive. The pure concept of a utopia can be theoretically visualized as a perfect geometric circle: one that is seamless, all-inclusive, yet impossible to draw out in reality.

In 1516, Sir Thomas More depicted in his famed Utopia what he envisioned to be an ideal state?one that frees its citizens from material worries by mandating economical equality amongst them and dividing social responsibilities impartially. More's work, however brilliant, cannot conceal the serious fallibilities and troublesome limitations of the utopian thoughts; and being the ambivalent creator that he was, More consciously emphasized the paradoxical nature of his ideal society. A century later, in his last work The Tempest, the great playwright William Shakespeare presented his audience with a mystical Commonwealth that is a reflection of the Golden Age from the classical literature. This fantasy, wrapped in the larger still whimsy that is The Tempest, will have the human race return to the purest state of nature. The Tempest, on the other hand, can be interpreted as a critique of the Utopian state. If the apparent paradise can only be sustained by magic and the deconstruction of human civilization, Shakespeare seems to imply, then utopia is altogether unachievable and impracticable.

There is little doubt that Sir Thomas More's Utopia is a work of social criticism on the harsh social reality in King Henry VIII's England. Through the mouth of the idealistic and fiery character Raphael Hythloday, More uncompromisingly railed against the then-present society and its endless evils, among the most important of which were the Closure Movement (consequently, loss of land possession by farmers) and the unreasonably harsh law system that fathered a vicious circle: "?if you do no find a cure for these evils, it is futile to boast of your severity in punishing theft ? what else is this, I ask, but first making them thieves and then punishing them for it?" (More 14)

What, then, is the root of all these evils? According to Hythloday, it is the economic system that is built upon the fundamental principle of private ownership: "So long as private property remains, there is no hope at all of effecting a cure and restoring society to good health" (More, 29) Utopia has no currency, no use for precious metals or luxury of any sort, and most importantly abolishes private ownership. The result, as Hythloday mythically describes it, is a perfect world in which people leave in accord because they are cut off from the source of greed and envy. In this world, people develop a complete...

Find Another Essay On Utopia - The Impossibility of Perfection

The Impossibility of Female Desire in Pygmalion and The Awakening

2062 words - 8 pages a discursively ability to fashion the people within that community, female desire literally becomes an impossibility within the shared interpretive community of that patriarchal discourse, a theory supported and exemplified by the female characters (and author) in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. These two pieces of literature, written in Irigaray’s patriarchal language, both reveal three aspects of my argument

The Impossibility of Reducing Global Warming and Environmental Hypocrisy

1280 words - 5 pages have crossed the threshold, and going back is an impossibility. The Impossibility It is difficult to imagine that the snowcaps of Mt. Everest and the Himalayas are gradually disappearing. From 1921 to the present, 40% of the snow that covered these majestic mountains has melted. (Smith). At this rate, it would seem that in 100 years, 80% of the snow will be gone. Many, experts or not, are quick to tell society what to do to stop global warming

Cultural Diversity and the Impossibility of a True Melting Pot

2536 words - 10 pages Cultural Diversity and the Impossibility of a True Melting Pot The core standards of America are founded, in principle, on the basis of its diversity and equality among citizens. Begin- ning with its Declaration of Independence, the United States distinguished itself from other modern nation-states by establishing a country of men who were different but equal. Yet, despite the unifying images America projects within and beyond its borders

The Meditator and the Idea of Perfection

724 words - 3 pages in both the goodness in God and nothingness. In effect, the act of falsehood by humans is merely a participation in nothingness and not the result of faulty faculty given by the God. The lack of perfection in humans therefore results in err and is independent of God. The meditator however is not satisfied with the above conclusion and muses why God, despite being a perfect being, simply did not create humans to be perfect as well. Because

Teenagers and the Desire of Perfection

1084 words - 4 pages Fashion magazine after fashion magazine has plagued our society with images of ?perfect people.? Magazines such as Cosmopolitan, YM, Vogue and Sports Illustrated show pictures of beautiful, skinny women and attractive, muscular men. Airbrushed to ultimate perfection by computers, the photographs present society with visual guidelines of the perfect body, which everyone should obey. Because fashion magazines present perfection as society?s status

Portrayal of Utopia in The Tempest

1683 words - 7 pages Portrayal of Utopia in The Tempest        In The Tempest, Shakespeare allows the audience to appreciate the possibilities of utopian society and whatever this may posses.  Being the good, and bad so that they can see that problems can arise in such a society. The Tempest can be thus seen as a window into the dimensions of utopian societies. While his characters take on the role of the leaders of the utopian societies, Shakespeare uses his

The Political Structure of More’s Utopia

2697 words - 11 pages Over the past few centuries the word "utopia" has developed a variety of meanings: a perfect state, paradise, heaven on earth, but the original definition of the word means something quite different. "Utopia", coined by Saint Thomas More in his famous work Utopia, written during the English Renaissance, literally means "nowhere". It is ironic that a word meaning nowhere has become a catchall phrase for paradise. More’s work is popular because of

The Utopia of Orwell and Foucault

1372 words - 5 pages The Utopia of Orwell and Foucault “Two ways of exercising power over men, of controlling their relations, of separating out their dangerous mixtures. The plague stricken town, transversed throughout with hierarchy, surveillance, observation, writing; the town immobilized by the functioning of an extensive power that bears in a distinct way over all individual bodies-this is the utopia of the perfectly governed city” (Foucault, 6) This quote

The role of women in utopia an

3072 words - 12 pages ROLE OF WOMEN ESSAY When reviewing literature, a major question being posed lately is what exactly are women's roles in various books. The works, which I am particularly concerned with in this essay, are William Shakespeare's "Othello" and Thomas More's "Utopia". I will be examining various themes of "Othello", in order to figure out where exactly women fit in with the work. These include things like the symbols used, the expectations and

Perfection in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven

1932 words - 8 pages search of the elusive Utopia. For Dr. Haber, "there was no end to his determination to improve the world (LeGuin 128). His sole mission is to gain power and do all he can to create the perfect world. In attempts to create a place of ideal perfection, a world of pain, oppression, and terror eventually ensues. This search for eventual perfection brings forth the realization that such a Utopian society is not only impossible but is unrealistic in itself

Commentary on The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville

1580 words - 6 pages Commentary on The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville “…a humble little thing, the bend giving it an apologetic look.” The author portrays the reader of a bent bridge in which the community is divided on a heritage issue. This passage is taken from The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville. As the extract progresses, the reader realizes that the local community is divided into two groups on the ‘bent’ bridge. This

Similar Essays

Utopia The Flawed Pursuit For Perfection

1107 words - 5 pages Perfect societies have long been discussed and debated, prominent in the works of many great philosophers such as Plato and Thomas More. It wasn’t until the 16th century however, that a formal name was to be attributed to this unattainable perfection - a utopia. As a result, utopias and their opposite, dystopias have become prominent in modern works and form the basis for this analysis in William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies and Suzanne

The Idea Of Perfection Essay

1191 words - 5 pages Kristiane Plehwe 11F7'The Idea of Perfection' - Unseen Commentary Passage AnalysisThe passage extract from Kate Grenville's 'The Idea of perfection', explores the idea of contrast and the idea of perfection, by a woman travelling to a township and finding an old bridge which seems to be a main point of division between the community. It is stated the community has this division because half want it demolished, whilst the others believe it is

The Cost Of Perfection Essay

883 words - 4 pages The Cost of Perfection As a scientist, Aylmer strived for perfection. As a husband, he became obsessed with making his wife perfect. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" Aylmer tried to correct what he deemed as Nature's mistake, too late, he realized that perfection did not exist. As a scientist, Aylmer had devoted his time to scientific studies in an effort to make the world a better place. As devoted as Aylmer was to his scientific

The Goal Of Flawed Perfection Essay

1353 words - 5 pages Mary I. Elizabeth stabilized England with a celestial capability that ensured relative peace within England. The previously unimaginable peace that Queen Elizabeth ensured, stimulated a sense of divine perfection onto her aura as she provided a prosperity that reflected a utopia under divine rule. Through the parallelism between the success of Queen Elizabeth and divine possibility, Shakespeare elevates the zenith of human potential. Without this