The Role Of Utopia In Plato's Republic

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People have dreamt of the perfect place, a place which is free of war, conflict, unhappiness and hunger. An ideal place with political perfection and flawless society. Such a world is called – utopia. As it is stated in Cambridge University press’s provided “A Thomas More Source book” the word “utopia” was first coined in 1516 by Sir Thomas More. He created the word from the Greek ou-topos which means “no place” or “nowhere”. The world was similar to the Greek eu-topos meaning a good place. (Wegemer, Smith, 2004: 12) The first “utopia”, or rather the first concept of it, appeared in Plato’s work “Republic” where all the citizens lived in an ideal society with equal and pleasant conditions for everyone. Even though reading the work, some may…show more content…
The citizens of the “golden” class are trained to become oligarchs or the “Philosopher-kings”, that were to end poverty with limited resources. The society had few laws and rarely sent its citizens to war, and when they did, they sent merceneries in hope that the “warlike countries” will cease to exist near the territory of the Republic, only letting peaceful people to stay. (Kershner, Murfin, 2003: 87) As Aristotle states in his Poetics II, he did not support Plato’s idea of the society arrangement, but the main proposals found in Plato’s philosophy, along with the ideas in “Republic” were supported by Aristotle who in his “Nocomachean Ethics” stated that human ability to strive towards a higher level of justice and moral is what set them apart from other animals. This is confirmed in the preface of the “poetics” by Gilbert Murray (Aristotle, 1997: 8) In 1516 Sir Thomas More published his work “Utopia”. “Utopia” consists of two books. The second book was written first, and it is about the customs, rules, life of the citizens of the island of Utopia, while the first book consists of the conversation between Raphael Hythloday and Thomas More, who in this case is just a fictional character, not the author himself. Their conversation is a comparison between England and the island Utopia. As it is stated in the…show more content…
The details describing the journey from France to Utopia are rather similar to the description of Hythloday’s travels in More’s “Utopia” [online 1]
Other pieces and similarities of “Utopia” can be found also in Montagne’s essays, for example “Of Cannibals” (1580) where he describes the life of a primitive South American Indian tribe. In this essay he repeatedly contrasts the primitive Indians with “civilized” Europeans. Stating man’s humanity is more important than rational behavior. This work is a contribution to utopian literature and fictional traveling literature. Other early fictional utopias include various exotic communities in Jonathan Swift's famous Gulliver's Travels (1726) and Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719).
As stated by Marcus Waithe, in the early 17th century appeared several “ambitious accounts of utopian societies”. The most known and successful being the most successful being: The City of the Sun (1632) by Tommaso Campanella, Christianopolis (1619), by Johann V. Andreae, and The New Atlantis (1624) by Sir Francis Bacon. [online
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