My Pursuit of Happiness

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Thomas More’s multifaceted work Utopia has historically been subject to numerous interpretations. The main focus has primarily been on its religious, social, and political references by scholars. Although well founded his work also touches on a gender that was not universally accepted at the time, the women in his Utopian society were allowed liberties but they were still restricted in numerous ways. His progressive outlook with a desire to better his world and produce a more productive society stands out among his fellow writers during a time that was still considered the dark ages was a literary marvel. Numerous writers such as Plato in his work Republic introduces a society that produce active members of a community and improved lives and living conditions as a whole. An envisioned and improved urban industrialized world such as this would produce an ideal environment among a repressed society that catered only to the aristocratic upper class of England during More’s time. A fair and just society within the grasp of More’s mind could be laid out in verse but to actually present it as just for both sexes proved to be more of a challenge. However, Utopia’s patriarchal view still deny women an egalitarian right to More’s envisioned world. As individuals and as a citizen, men have been given an adventitious ability to live by their own merits and achievements. Men have greater access to politics that once was dependent on entry through aristocrat connection and birth. On the contrary, women have not been granted such liberties and are still mostly restricted to their traditional roles in the home. They also remain inferior and dependent on their male counterparts in the new imagined world of More. In contrast More has not created a Utopian society for women like he has done for men but actually a dystopian one that cannot allow women to pursue individual goals of freedom that would allow academia or government to play a larger personal role in their life. It seems that More does not partake in everyone’s pursuit of happiness or enlightenment as one has been lead to believe in the beginning of his liberated society. Therefore, More’s commonwealth as he describes it, does not do justice to both sexes. Men have always held a role in government and their community which directly correlates to the education given to them. More continued this in his Utopian society by allocating education to men and women but placing more emphasis on the role a man would play with his education. Women who were educated were viewed unjustly during Mores time period because to men it meant they were not focusing on their primary roles as mothers and wives. A woman’s children and her husband were of the utmost importance to her and she should not busy herself with such foolish ideas of academia thought most men. In other words, a woman needs to subjugate to her husband and children with a desire to remain obedient, diligent, and have no interest beyond the home.

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