Thomas More’s Utopia Plot and Characters


Thomas More’s Utopia is a fictional work in two parts. It already has been introduced in the previous article on this fiction. Moreover, its critical appreciation also has been provided in that article. And, here will be a discussion on some other aspects of this outstanding literary piece.

Utopia Plot Structure

The writer of Utopia Thomas More, while traveling in Low Countries sees his friend Peter Giles who introduces him to a well-traveled friend of his named Raphael Hythloday. Giles’ traveller friend Hythloday speaks of:

  •  Many countries 
  • Their policies and laws

He freely criticizes the laws of their own countries as well. When Thomas More wants to know the reason behind Raphael not joining the king’s services as a counselor, he says that he is glad about his own way of life.

In addition, Hythloday does not think that his services would be appreciated. Because there is a (quite easily observable) difference between his ideas as well as those of those around him.  

Then, this traveler provides an account of the meeting at Cardinal Morton’s house. After that he hypotheses about what would happen in case he were to express his opinion or view in other meetings.

Raphael now begins speaking of Utopia, a country which he thinks/considers, is not only ruled quite well but also a perfect country.

The writer requests Hythloday to say something more about Utopia. And he does so. Consequently, he tells of their towns, which were:

  • All as identical as possible, as well as 
  • Had a maximum of six thousand (6,000) families

As far as their magistrates are concerned; they are known as Philrachs, as well as were chosen every year by 30 (thirty) families. Whereas an Archphilarch overlooks every 10 (ten) Philarchs. 

According to Raphael,  the people of Utopia live their lives in unusual ways/styles. They have no value or importance of gold. That is why everything is free there. Moreover, the inhabitants spend:

  •  Their live in the city as well as in the suburbs  In this way, they live:
  • In each (above-mentioned) place for two years at a time

The Utopian laws dictate that (such) people are not allowed to travel without a passport. As far as the passport is concerned; a person can only obtain it from: 

  • The Prince As well as 
  • States

Where for how long they were permitted to travel.

Hythloday then tells More and Giles about slaves as well as marriages in Utopia. He says that here war prisoners are not taken as slaves, till they do not fight in battles. Whereas women are married just after eighteen (18) as well as men after twenty-two (22).  (I) Sexual Encounters  (II) Polygamy, as well as  (III) Adultery are prohibited in this country. Moreover, there are no lawyers at this place. So, every person defends himself/herself in court.

In terms of the military discipline of Utopians, it is such that every person trains for the army on a daily or regular basis. But, they like to hire armies in place of letting their own people go to war. Its reason is that money does not matter much to them, they can do that without much difficulty or problem. As far as women in terms of war are concerned; here they are encouraged to join their husbands. 

Raphael Hythloday finally talks on the topic of religion in Utopia. Here people are free to practice whatever they believe because there is the availability of many religions in this state. But, its law says that:

  • All people must believe in one Supreme Dvine Being
  • They are forbidden to believe that a human’s soul uses to die with his body

The traveler next talks of the way (a) the country as well as (b) the people deal with the problems as well as issues associated with each of those topics as well as in what way we could learn from the Utopians and their wisdom.

Hythloday finishes his description. But, Thomas more has more questions as well as thoughts. Yet, the traveler does not say anything about them due to his tiredness. He, in his final remark, shows his wish that his government would adopt some of the rules from Utopia. But, Raphael sees little hope of this happening in his country.    

Utopia Some Important Characters 

The notable characters in Thomas More’s fictional works are:

  1. Peter Giles: Peter Giles is the author’s (Thomas More’s) friend. He (novelist) sees him in the Low Countries. It is Peter Giles who introduces Thomas More to Raphael Hythloday.
  2. Thomas More is not only the author of Utopia but a major character of this as well. More sees his friend Peter Giles when he was traveling. Then, the writer is introduced to the traveler Raphael Hythloday. This person provides a vivid description of Utopia. More’s interest in government as well as travel results in a debate with Hythloday. Consequently, the description of this state on which this book is based.
  3. Raphael Hythloday is a well-traveled friend of Peter Giles. He has no belief in the present system of government, but rather in that of Utopia, which he regards/considers, is the only real commonwealth. Raphael lived in this country for 5 years. That is why he provides every detail of it to them ( Thomas More and Peter Giles).
  4.  Utopus was the founder as well as the first ruler of Utopia. He was a quote-intelligent person. He ordered that his state (aforementioned) to be separated from the rest of the continent by a channel. Because, according to him Utopians were superior to rest of the channel. Apart from the above, Utopus also made many laws such as all people of the state must believe in a Dvine Being, but that may practice whichever religion they select or choose.
  5. Cardinal Morton was a cardinal whom Hythloday once visited. Cardinal’s counselors agree with opinions irrespective of what they are. He saw some wisdom in Hythloday’s remarks. The account of the meeting at his (Cardinal’s) house show:
  •  How counselors applaud whatever their superiors or seniors wish/like
  • How Raphael’s advice would be useless to the king 

That is why he should not become a counselor to the king.

u003cstrongu003eQues:u003c/strongu003e What is the opinion of Thomas More about the constitution of u003cemu003eUtopia u003c/emu003e?

u003cstrongu003eAns:u003c/strongu003e More considers the constitution of u003cemu003eUtopia u003c/emu003eas the best in the world.

u003cstrongu003eQues: u003c/strongu003eWhy does More expect that the whole world should imitate the u003cemu003eUtopians?u003c/emu003e

u003cstrongu003eAns: u003c/strongu003eThe author of u003cemu003eUtopia u003c/emu003eexpects that the whole world should imitate them (in all the ways), as they have no place for ambition as well as a faction in their lives.

u003cstrongu003eQues:u003c/strongu003e To what literary genre does u003cemu003eUtopia u003c/emu003ebelong ?

u003cemu003eUtopia u003c/emu003ebelongs to satire (fiction).