The Rover

The Use of the Fantasy Genre in Behn's The Rover and More's Utopia

Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and Aphra Behn’s The Rover are two vastly different works of literature that focus on different matters: More’s work is a political document, while Behn’s can be categorized as more of a social one. While the two works in themselves are quite different, both of these authors employ a similar form to shape their work around in order to promote serious issues within their respective writings, with More utilizing the fantasy-like trope of utopia to offer themes evocative of socialism, and Behn using a similar fantasy-like structure of Carnival to challenge the social role of women at the time. By using these fantasy genres, More and Behn are able to test the accepted political and social realities of the era and replace them with hugely radical concepts, all without their work being perceived as threatening because of the “loophole” that the fantasy genre creates. Through an analysis of both works, it is clear that both authors would not have been able to pose these ideas without using the scope of fantasy to mask the seriousness and controversy of these novel issues: Utopia is a primitive socialist document that presents a property-less and classless society during one of the most centralized and...

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