Women and Feminism in Sir Thomas More's Utopia

First published in 1516, Sir Thomas More's Utopia is considered as one of the most influential works of Western humanism. Through the first-person narrative of Raphael Hythloday, More's mysterious traveler, Utopia is described as a pagan communist city-state or polis governed by intellect and rationality. By addressing such issues as religious pluralism, women's rights, state-sponsored education, colonialism and justified warfare, the main protagonist seems to be a very recognizable character to many contemporary readers even after more than five centuries while Utopia itself remains a foundational text in human philosophy and political ideology through the world.

In his description of the religious practices held within More's perfectly structured Utopia, Raphael Hythloday informs the reader that "Women are not debarred from the priesthood, but only a widow of advanced years is ever chosen, and it doesn't happen often" (Utopia 78). Examples of this rather discriminatory, symbolic remark can be found throughout the text of Utopia which is embedded with many inconsistencies and conflicts related to philosophy. At the conclusion of Utopia when Hythloday has terminated his extremely detailed narrative...

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