Study Guide

Utopia Dissatisfaction

By Thomas More


Hythloday can't get no satisfaction from the current state affairs in Europe. That's how that song goes, right? The more we get to know the protagonist of Utopia, the clearer it is that he just isn't happy with how things are going down in his home continent: corruption, poverty, inequality, and violence abound. Yep, it's a bummer. And while he finds temporary relief in the radically different society of this unknown island called Utopia, it just doesn't last. In fact, when he returns to Europe and realizes how few people are open to the kinds of social systems Utopia uses, things only get worse for him. Poor guy.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. Does there seem to be one experience in particular that made Hythloday so dissatisfied with European governments? Or is this a general feeling that arose from some deep thinking? What would be the difference between those two reasons for dissatisfaction?
  2. How does Hythloday express his dissatisfaction? Does he just go out and say things are bad, or do we have to piece those feeling together as readers?
  3. How exactly does the island of Utopia free Hythloday from his dissatisfaction? Does it offer him hope? Does it offer him escape? What kinds of experiences does he have there?
  4. Is Hythloday the only dissatisfied character in the book? Who else might be?

Chew on This

Hythloday is just having a case of "the grass is greener." If he had actually stayed in Utopia, he'd start to find faults with all kinds of things there, too.

Utopian society is designed so that no one can ever feel dissatisfied—it's impossible.