What Role Does Morality Play In A Utopian Society

Decent Essays
The concept of utopia is one which has many differing connotations and is therefore also one which cannot be confined to one interpretation alone. The term is commonly used to represent a community or society that, in theory, possesses highly desirable or near-‘perfect’ qualities; however, these encompassing ideals, which arguably place emphasis on egalitarian principles of equality, are implemented in a number of ways and are subsequently based on varying ideologies, thus insisting on varying views of morality. The word itself, which was first coined by Sir Thomas More in the early sixteenth century and used to describe a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean, was taken from the Greek οὐ (‘not’) and τόπος (‘place’), literally translating…show more content…
This change in meaning is thought to have been the result of a deviation from the usage of the expression ‘utopia’ and an emphasis placed on the alternative, ‘eutopia,’ taken from the Greek εὖ, meaning ‘good’ or ‘well’ and τόπος, meaning ‘place’, therefore indicating a positive utopia. In English, of course, both eutopia and utopia are homophonous, therefore creating a sense of confusion, as the two words have been used to describe both an intentional community that attempts to create an ideal society and the imagined societies portrayed in works of fiction. Thus the etymology of the term is crucial to our understanding of its social and political significance, as well as its relation to literary…show more content…
The task at hand is to establish the perception of a utopic past, and therefore it is with regard to these two contrasting notions of utopia that I will be considering the ways in which both William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Algernon Charles Swinburne’s Hermaphroditus seek to expose and challenge the mechanisms of traditional views regarding spiritualism and the physical form, as well as critiquing the mode of normative sexuality and representations of the body. Another important concept to consider alongside this is that of dystopia, which is characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, and all matters associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Dystopic societies are usually set in the future and provide an antonymic, frightening opposition to the general concept of utopia. Rather than portraying an idyllic state of civilisation which promises an exit from the cycle of life and death, the term dystopia is used to draw attention to real-world issues which if unaddressed could potentially lead to such a dystopia-like
Get Access