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Utopia | Quotes


The springs both of good and evil flow from the prince over a whole nation.

Thomas More, Book 1

More is urging Hythloday to become a counselor to a king as the best way to ensure his ideas are put to practical use.


This way of punishing thieves was neither just ... nor good ... the severity was too great ... the remedy was not effectual.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 1

Hythloday is arguing that the idea of executing thieves is inappropriate, both for practical and for religious reasons.


Plato thinks that nations will be happy when ... philosophers become kings or kings become philosophers.

Thomas More, Book 1

By citing Plato, More is showing the reader he is familiar with work such as the Republic that has a similar style and purpose as Utopia.


Never ... offer propositions or advice that we are certain will not be entertained.

Thomas More, Book 1

This important quote differentiates the character of Thomas More from that of Hythloday. While Hythloday believes he should be forthright and truthful at all times, More recommends more circuitous ways of speaking truth to power.


A vast number of eggs are laid in a gentle ... heat in order to be hatched.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 2

In this description of Utopian agriculture, More accurately predicts more modern techniques for hatching eggs using incubators.


Every man may freely enter into any house ... they shift their houses by lots.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 3

In Utopia all property is communal, and no home belongs permanently to any family.


Never ... debate a thing on the same day in which it is first proposed.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 4

This very practical idea is incorporated in the Utopian government. It may have been an idea that More wished to communicate to Parliament.


Women generally do little, who are the half of mankind.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 5

In Utopia, women, as well as men, work full days. By involving women in the process of production (though they are often idle in real-world Tudor England), Utopia is able to reduce the workday to only six hours.


Every father ... takes ... without either paying for it or leaving anything in exchange.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 6

Utopians take according to their need and give according to their ability. There is no money or barter. This idea is central in the works of Karl Marx.


It is the fear of want that makes ... animals either greedy or ravenous.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 6

Hythloday explains why it is that Utopians take only as much as they need and no more.


All men live in full view, so that all are ... to employ themselves well.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 7

More suggests that by placing all Utopians under constant observation it is possible to control their behavior. This idea is reflected in the dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell.


They make their chamber-pots ... of gold ... they likewise make chains and fetters for their slaves.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 7

Utopians place no value on gold and silver because they believe doing so will corrupt their citizens. Instead they use gold and silver to make the least important items in their households.


The pleasures of the mind lie in knowledge, and in ... the contemplation of truth.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 7

In Utopia there are no taverns, brothels, or gambling dens. Instead the people amuse themselves in wholesome ways such as reading and contemplation.


Before marriage ... presents the bride, naked ... to the bridegroom ... the bridegroom, naked, to the bride.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 8

This rather shocking Utopian custom reveals any physical flaws to the bride and groom before marriage so no one feels they have been deceived.


They detest war as a very brutal thing, and which ... is more practiced by men than by any sort of beasts.

Raphael Hythloday, Book 2, Chapter 9

This philosophical statement explains why Utopians rarely go to war and why they go to great lengths (and even employ treachery) to avoid battle.

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