Slavery In Francois Rabelais And Thomas More's Utopia

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Dystopia in Utopia
The word “utopia” descended from a Greek word meaning “no place” and today is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “an imagined or hypothetical place, system, or state of existence in which everything is perfect, especially in respect of social structure, laws and politics” (). Both Francois Rabelais and Thomas More describes the utopic world to depict the ideal human society, however, both describes a society in which dystopian features are extremely emphasized to the extent that it overshadows the essential utopian features. This shows that there is a thin line between an orderly society and a repressive dystopian one. Historically, utopia has been considered by its values of egalitarianism: It should have no class
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Thomas More has a section for “Slaves” (More 250). The slaves were either criminals who had been convicted for serious crimes, or prisoners taken in battle or foreigners who subjected themselves willingly to slavery in Utopia. Although the treatment of slaves in Utopia was somehow humane compared to traditional slavery, the practice of slavery is highly damaging feature in terms of an idealistic scheme of society. To be more specific, the idea of slavery is more of a dystopian feature than an Utopian one. Likewise, in “The Abbey of Thélème”, Rabelais has a similar kind of class division. “…ladies’ maids were so perfectly trained that…” (Rabelais 147), says in the text. “Maids” is just a different form of slavery, who serve other people who are higher in status. Therefore, the notion of having class divisions either through slavery or maids is against the Utopian ideals, in which everyone is …show more content…
Thomas More’s Utopia offers a highly ordered society. “….one occupation at which everyone works, … trained in it from childhood…” (More 232). People are working in agriculture, which they practice from childhood. This means that no one is really offered the opportunity of individual expression and practice what they want. And furthermore, if these people want to learn another trade, he or she requires a permission. Commonsense “permission” clearly means that these people have no free will. Moreover, despite the “abundance of everything” everyone is wearing the same thing. And if a person wants to visit a friend or wants to travel just to discover a new place, he or she requires a permission. Thus, although the opportunities to have everything and travel around, no one use can benefit from those opportunities. This simply shows that people are without free will and obliged to a highly ordered system. In “The Abbey of Thélème,” on the other hand, it seems initially that people have their free will and can govern their lives as they wish to. Rabelais says “…their lives were not ordered and governed by laws and statutes and rules, but according to their own free will…” (Rabelais 146). He demonstrates that women and men of “The Abbey of Thélème” governed their lives, got up when they wish and worked when feel like. In other words, there were no

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