Utopia as a text is a clear reflection and representation of Moreâ€™s passion for ideas and art. Through the character of Raphael, More projects and presents his ideas, concepts and beliefs of politics and society. Moreâ€™s Utopia aims to create a statement on the operations and effectiveness of the society of England. This text is a general reflection of Moreâ€™s idea of a perfectly balanced and harmonious society.
His ideas and concepts of society somewhat contrast to the rest of 16th century England and indicate a mind that was far ahead of its time. A number of issues and themes are raised throughout the text to which More provides varying views and opinions. These are transmitted and projected through the perspectives of the fictional Raphael, More and Giles. The most key and predominant aspect of Moreâ€™s Utopian society is the abolishment of private property. This then leads to a battle and debate over the common welfare of the people against their private interests. Raphael and by extension More, feels that society and people in general greatly benefit from the loss of private interests. The general loss of privacy in Utopia leads to a situation in which â€?everyone has an eye on youâ€™ so that the people of Utopia are â€?practically forced to get onâ€™ with their jobs and â€?make some proper useâ€™ of their spare time.
This system creates a city in which every single member works and contributes to society in a positive way. Under this arrangement each member is considered equal in that no one man owns greater possessions or property than another. However while this indeed does benefit society as a whole one must question whether it benefits its members and their own personal happiness. Certainly Moreâ€™s Utopia benefits its people in a physical way through its equality, free meals and abundance of food however it is their emotional and mental state that comes under scrutiny.
The notion that someone is always watching you suggests an almost repressive or tyrannical kind of rule. It appears that the people of Utopia have little or no time for themselves as any free time must be a positive contribution to society. These people are always working towards the city and society and must feels that they are never able to work towards their own pleasure and happiness. Their lives are so meticulously structured and controlled with overwhelming rules and regulations and set routines and times. Expression of individuality is suppressed as the freedoms and rights of these people are stifled and controlled in order to maintain a â€?perfect world.
â€™ It is hard to believe that the people of Utopia are content in all wearing the exact same clothing, merely replacing their single outfit every 2 years. Is there simply no such thing as dirty clothes in this perfect society? Likewise these people arenâ€™t allowed to acquire possessions that are different or unique to any others. It is through these mediums of clothing and possessions that humans are able to express themselves and their individuality. It is human nature to want to feel special or unique and this instinct is blatantly denied in the name of a common good for people as a whole. While the concept and intention of Moreâ€™s Utopia is righteous and good it is unlikely that the members of its society will be content in their smothered lives. In Book 1 of Utopia More deals with the conflict of maintaining the integrity of the ideal of truth and compromising this integrity for public benefit.
This conflict is presented in the form of Raphael who refuses to place his talents and knowledge at the service of the king in order to uphold and preserve the purity of the ideal of truth. More and Giles on the other hand, are opposed to this notion and believe that purity has no value.