Distinguishing Utopia & Dystopia

Utopia and dystopia are genres in literature, often fiction, which are creations of the minds of the writers. A person who is unhappy with the position of women in society and the way they are discriminated against may imagine a genderless society in which both men and women have equal rights and powers with no discrimination against women. This is essentially a utopian society, which does not exist in reality. However, this is an author’s point of view, and not necessarily a reflection of reality. Dystopia is the exact opposite of utopia in the sense that the author envisions a society that is farthest away from utopia. This article aims to highlight the differences between these two imaginary predispositions of authors in fiction.


When consulting a dictionary, utopia is defined as a place that does not exist. Can you imagine a place where everything is ideal with no disease, deaths, discrimination, rich and poor divide, domination of women by men, and a just and fair legal system with a nice political class without corruption at any level? It is just not possible, but writers dare to think of such a place and set it as an isolated, imaginary place. Utopian fiction is often an attempt to explore political and social structures emphasizing the viewpoint of the author. The origin of the word lies in Greek “outopos,” which means “no place.” The word was first used by Sir Thomas More in 1516 in his book titled “Utopia.”


The word “dystopia” comes from the Greek language, meaning “bad” or “ill.” It was first used by British thinkers in the late 19th century as a contrast to the utopia envisioned by authors. Dystopia paints a pessimistic or negative picture of an imaginary world. This imaginary place is divided into classes and castes, with an education system in place to preserve the differences in society. There is the negation of individuality and constant surveillance of people by the government with almost draconian regulation of society by the authorities.

Key Takeaways

  • The main difference between utopia and dystopia lies in the perspective of the author, although sometimes the dividing line between the two can be very thin.
  • When an author is carrying a message of hope, they talk of ideal situations that are construed as utopia; when an author presents a picture of dejection and despair, they take recourse to dystopia.
  • Utopia talks about equality of humankind, while dystopian societies are based upon segregation; utopian society is full of ideals, while there is oppression and inequality in dystopian societies.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles