Utopia – Book Two Summary

Book Two of “Utopia,” written by the social philosopher Thomas More in the early 1500’s, describes in great detail an island named Utopia. The description of this fictional island in the New World was provided by a traveler named Raphael Hythloday and transcribed by Thomas More. According to Hythloday, Utopia was founded by Utopus, who, with the help of some locals and his own men, separated the island from the mainland. The island is shaped like a crescent moon with two horns at the end that open onto a large, peaceful bay. The entrance to the bay is littered with rocks, preventing foreigners from entering unless accompanied by a Utopian guide. The geographical isolation coupled with the natural entrance barriers results in Utopia’s little to no interaction with the outside world, unless the inhabitants of the island deem it necessary. This results in the citizens of the island living in a world of conformity and homogeneity.

The island has fifty-four cities that share the same language, customs, institutions and laws. Hythloday spends most of his time in the capital city Amaurot, which is comprised of beautiful houses and gardens. There are no locks on the doors; as a result, there is nothing private anywhere. Each family has a minimum of forty men and women, and two slaves, who perform tasks that the Utopians find unpleasant. Slaves butcher animals for meat and perform hard labor. If a slave rebels, he or she is put to death, but if the slave is patient and show signs of better character, he or she is set free.For every thirty families there is a phylarch. An Archphilarch rules over every ten Philarchs. All two-hundred philarchs select a Prince, who “rules for life, unless he is removed upon suspicion of some design to enslave the people.” (More 32). This hierarchical government results in a natural checks and balances system and oversees the work, religion, military, social relations and education of the Utopians. The ent…

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