Study Guide

Utopia Summary

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Utopia Summary

In Book 1, Thomas More (not only the author, but also a main character) arrives in Antwerp on a business trip where he runs into an old friend, Peter Giles and meets a new friend, Raphael Hythloday.

Hythloday is a great traveler and has all sorts of controversial opinions, so the three of them head over to Giles's garden to have an intense chat about whether or not it's possible for philosophy to influence politics. Giles and More say it totally is, whereas Hythloday insists that politics and philosophy are irreconcilable. He ends by just randomly mentioning this place called Utopia, that he thinks rocks, and Giles and More beg him to say more.

After taking a little lunch break, our eager trio returns in Book 2 to chat about Utopia. Hythloday essentially describes, topic-by-topic, various characteristics of this new island: geography, history, cities, houses, government, farming, other jobs, down time, lack of money, outfits, families and households, lack of private property, food, dining, conversation, travel, trade, wealth, education, religion, visitors, slavery, laws, war, holidays… phew.

Once he finishes, Hythloday says that he thinks the island is the absolute best, but More and Giles seem less-than-convinced. More ends by saying that he has many remaining questions, but they can wait for Hythloday to chill out.

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