Utopia by Thomas More Essay

Utopia as a text is a clear reflection and representation of More’s passion for ideas and art. Through the character of Raphael, More projects and presents his ideas, concepts and beliefs of politics and society. More’s Utopia aims to create a statement on the operations and effectiveness of the society of England. This text is a general reflection of More’s idea of a perfectly balanced and harmonious society. His ideas and concepts of society somewhat contrast to the rest of 16th century England and indicate a mind that was far ahead of its time. A number of issues and themes are raised throughout the text to which More provides varying views and opinions. These are transmitted and projected through the perspectives of the fictional Raphael, More and Giles.

The most key and predominant aspect of More’s Utopian society is the abolishment of private property. This then leads to a battle and debate over the common welfare of the people against their private interests. Raphael and by extension More, feels that society and people in general greatly benefit from the loss of private interests. The general loss of privacy in Utopia leads to a situation in which ‘everyone has an eye on you’ so that the people of Utopia are ‘practically forced to get on’ with their jobs and ‘make some proper use’ of their spare time. This system creates a city in which every single member works and contributes to society in a positive way. Under this arrangement each member is considered equal in that no one man owns greater possessions or property than another.

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However while this indeed does benefit society as a whole one must question whether it benefits its members and their own personal happiness. Certainly More’s Utopia benefits its people in …

…pinions on the matter. Instead of capital punishment Raphael proposes a method of discipline employed by the foreign Tallstorians. In this process a thief must return all stolen goods to their owner and is then sentenced to a lifetime of hard but fair labour. In doing this the criminals are converted into workers that contribute positively to society.

Utopia is a reflection of More’s thoughts, feelings and opinions on politics and society at the time. While it may appear that Utopia is a representation of More’s ideal society and world, only some aspects are supported and agreed upon by More. He generally opposes and objects to certain trends of the Utopian society which he feels are ‘ridiculous.’ Despite this More still provides a comment on the social standards, ethics, operations and functions of the time. In doing this he presents his passion of ideas and art.


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