Comparing Margaret Cavendish’s The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World and Sir Tho

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Comparing Margaret Cavendish’s The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World and Sir Thomas More’s Utopia

The so-called Utopia – the quasi-perfect society – flourishes in Margaret Cavendish’s “The Description of a New World, Called a Blazing World” and Sir Thomas More’s Utopia. While the former is a dreamlike account of fantasy rule and the latter a pseudo-realistic travelogue, both works paint a picture of worlds that are not so perfect after all. These imperfections glitter like false gemstones in the paths of these Utopians’ religious beliefs, political systems, and philosophical viewpoints.

Religion and spirituality reach into the depths of the human psyche and strongly influence a nation’s way of life.
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In More’s Utopia, everyone does indeed worship different gods, yet they must all believe in one single eternal power. This allows Hythloday the narrator and his comrades to convert some of the Utopians into Christians, for the citizens readily accept the one-god notion and the practice of sharing communal goods (More 517). No one is condemned due to his or her religious beliefs in Utopia. A fanatic who begins condemning other religions is tried on a charge, “not of despising their religion, but of creating a public disorder” and is sent into exile (More 518). Does this reflect a society with utopian religious ideals? In Utopia, there are two sects of religious people – the ascetic sect whose members do not marry or eat meat, and the sect that allows its members to marry and eat meat. The Utopians regard the second as more sensible, but the first holier. They believe that “anyone [who] chose celibacy over marriage and a hard life over a comfortable one on grounds of reason alone” is insane; but “as these men say they are motivated by religion, the Utopians respect and revere them” (More 520). Truly, religion shapes a nation’s identity and beliefs, and in the cases of the Blazing World and Utopia, some aspects of their religion mars their perfect societies.

Closely linked to religion is marriage, a celebration governed by the government of Utopia. Marriage is a
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