n De Arte - Dystopia : a review : views and (re)views

Volume 2009, Issue 80
  • ISSN : 0004-3389



If he were king of the island, Gonzalo says in Shakespeare's , he would ensure that there would be no riches or poverty, no use of metal, corn, wine or oil. Basing this passage on Montaigne's , Shakespeare has the old courtier continue, proposing that all men and women would be idle, there would be no treason or felony or weapons; nature would bring forth by itself abundance for his people. However, he subverts his vision of a paradise by saying halfway through that there would be 'no sovereignty'. This is latched onto by two of the 'men of sin' (III iii 53. Shakespeare 1997:3089), Sebastian and Antonio, who comment that the 'latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning' (II i 158. Shakespeare 1997:3073). Thus, Gonzalo's utopia is seen to be a chimera, something impossible to achieve, something which will be in no place, the meaning of utopia. The opposite of this is, of course, 'dystopia', with its connotation of disorder, discord, disruption, disillusion. Its meaning is the opposite of both connotations of utopia (perfect place and no place) : unpleasant place - or every place. All of this, of course, with shades of More (), Butler (), Zamyatin (), Huxley () and Orwell ().

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