Thomas More’s Utopia Essay

Thomas More’s Utopia is a work of ambiguous dualities that forces the reader to question More’s real view on the concept of a utopian society. However, evidence throughout the novel suggests that More did intend Utopia to be the “best state of the commonwealth.” The detailed description of Utopia acts as Mores mode of expressing his humanistic views, commenting on the fundamentals of human nature and the importance of reason and natural law while gracefully combining the two seemingly conflicting ideals of communism and liberalism.In essence, Utopia is a written manifestation of More’s humanist beliefs. Many of these views are vicariously present in the character of Raphael Hythloday. For example, Hythloday comments on the unwillingness of Kings to take advice from others, claiming they are “drenched as they are and infected with false values from boyhood and on” (More, 2011, p. 28). The idea of “infection” implies that a man is not naturally corrupt or sinful, but rather pure at heart and simply influenced by the environment an individual is exposed to. This is a key humanist concept, which suggests that human nature is malleable and inconstant, and therefore can be positively influenced to do good. Raphael later states, “Pride is too deeply fixed in human nature to be easily plucked out” (More, 2011, p. 98) Though this may seem contradictory to his previous statement, Hythloday still suggests that human nature can be changed, though he candidly admits that it is difficult. More is attempting to illustrate his own hesitations of serving the King through the conversation between the fictional More and Hythloday, which serves as a representation of More’s conflict between his beliefs as a humanist and a servant of the King.A…

…ore simply cannot explain or answer. Returning to the argument More makes about profit motive, we find that Raphael seems to have an unclear and indefinite response: “If you had seen them, you would frankly confess that you had never seen a people well governed anywhere but there” (More, 2011, p. 37). Here we receive the impression that More is perhaps unsure of hesitant about the logical reasoning of Utopia. However, this is not case. More presents Utopia to us, suggesting that this is the model for the best society. Though this is easy to describe the perfect state in theory, applying Utopia to practice is extremely difficult, if not all together impossible. More seems to be conscious of this fact, concluding the novel with: “Yet I freely confess there are very many things in the Utopian commonwealth that in out own societies I would wish rather than expect to see.

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