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by Thomas More

Utopia Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What's up with Book 1? Why is it even there? It barely talks about Utopia! This question is especially interesting if you take into account the fact that More wrote Book 1 after Book 2.
  2. If the country of Utopia is so obviously not real, why does More go to so much trouble to make it seem real? Why pretend?
  3. For all the talk about Utopia's morality, there's some pretty iffy stuff that goes on in that country that Hythloday justifies, like unprovoked violent conquests and slavery. Are we supposed to buy these justifications?
  4. One of the biggest questions scholars continue to puzzle over today is why More wrote this darn book. What effect did he imagine it would have? Was it literally supposed to change things? How exactly did he think that would happen? Why is his own character in the book constantly challenging Utopian policies, then? Is the whole thing a joke?
  5. What's with all the name games? Is More trying to be funny, sneaky, show-offy, or just intentionally confusing?
  6. Would you want to live in Utopia? Would anyone?
  7. How do 21st-century utopias/dystopias compare to More's original?

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