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Utopia - Essay Example

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Jonathan Swift, in “Gulliver’s Travels,” and Francois Voltaire, in “Candide,” give their respective depictions of the ideal country in Houyhnhnm Land and El Dorado. The inhabitants of both lands are perfectly content, there is no conflict or want, and the government is…
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Download file to see previous pages Houyhnhnm Land and El Dorado differ considerably in their environment. Houyhnhnm Land is an island, accessible only by sea. El Dorado is land-locked, “bounded by inaccessible mountains” (Voltaire, 76). The former has a largely natural pastoral environment with “plenty of grass, and several fields of oats” (Swift, 6). On the other hand, El Dorado is characterized by a more contrived, landscaped beauty. The beaten roads of Houyhnhnm are in contrast to the covered roads of El Dorado, on which the pebbles and sand are gold and precious stones. The public buildings and houses in El Dorado are built on a palatial scale, and are adorned with all manner of precious material. Even the “very plain house” (Voltaire, 78) of the retired courtier is ornamented in gold and silver. On the other hand, in Houyhnhnm Land, the “buildings, although very rude and simple, are not inconvenient, but well contrived to defend them from all injuries of cold and heat” (Swift, 12). In all aspects, Houyhnhnm Land is the epitome of simplicity, while El Dorado is filled with material wealth.
The inhabitants of the two lands stand in marked opposition to each other. The Houyhnhnms are highly refined, intelligent horses, whose “grand maxim is, to cultivate reason, and to be wholly governed by it” (Swift, 9). In contrast to these noble horses, Houyhnhnm Land is also inhabited by the savage-like Yahoos, who are completely ruled by avarice and sensual depravity. The citizens of El Dorado are of one kind only: humans who have no passion for the gold and jewels which abound in their land. Peruvian is the language of El Dorado, while the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos have their distinct speeches. There is no religion in Houyhnhnm Land while the people of El Dorado offer thanksgiving to a single God, without the trappings of formal religious institutions. El Dorado has a “palace of sciences, --- filled with instruments ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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