Utopia

Utopia Thomas More Summary and Analysis

Introduction 

It was Thomas More who wrote Utopia, which is a well-known work of fiction as well as socio-political satire. In fact, More originally wrote Utopia in Latin as well as published in the year 1516. An English Scholar Ralph Robinson (1520 – 1577) made this book’s first publication in English translation in 1551.

Moreover, Gilbert Burnet (1643 – 1715), a Scottish philosopher, historian, and bishop of Salisbury, was the second person/scholar who translated the fictional work in 1684; with more literary skill. 

  • Actually, Thomas More, the scholarly as well as witty Englishman, through his Utopia, attacked in his own way the major (chief) social as well as political evils of that time (sixteenth century) 
  • (a)  Plato’s Republic, as well as (b) Plutarch’s account of Sartan life under Lycurgus, influenced him to write this book
  • Here, in this work, Thomas More professes to be nothing but just a transcriber and simply writes down what he remembers of a conversation with Raphael Hithlofay – a restless traveler 
  • The aforementioned traveler had met in his travels with the commonwealth of Utopia (it means nowhere). Consequently, draws him out in order to provide an account of it 

Utopia Critical Appreciation

It is Utopia due to which Thomas More’s fame mainly lasted. The writer, in the concluding part of the fiction, provides a detailed picture of an ideal society. This is the thing that forms the exact opposite of contemporary society ( of the writer’s time).

He criticizes society at its roots that is on different spheres of life. Neither contemporary people did understand More nor he wanted/wished to be understood by them. So, More wrote this fiction in Latin in order to conceal his thoughts in the garments of satire. It offers him greater liberty in expressing his opinions.

Many people (scholars) have expressed their opinions on Thomas More’s Utopia. And, similar to Machiavelli’s Prince and Erasmus’ Manual for Christian Princes, Utopia is a book with the same aim – it shows the princes/rulers (or, governments) how they should govern. 

As far as the Island of Utopia is concerned; it is actually.  The novelist designed it to show:

  • How this country (England) would look, as well as
  • What shape her relations abroad would assume in case of it was communistically organization

Thomas More’s concluding remarks about this fiction come when he says that however there are many things in the commonwealth of Utopia that he rather desires (wishes), than hopes, to see followed in his/their governments.

In case, a person studies the fiction minutely, he will be capable of knowing that it was not an idle dreaming of free time (a leisure hour), but the result of profound insights into the essentials of the (a) Religious (b) Social, (c) Political, as well as (d) Economic tendencies as well as of his time.

One may/can regard Thomas More’s character as one of the causes of his socialism. His great friend Erasmus said that he was quite friendly as well as helpful.

But, it is notable that a person can not be called a socialist only on the basis of sympathy for the poor, (a) socialist sentiments as well ideas should grow from this interest (b) he should have profound economic insights as well.

So far the humanists in Thomas More’s time are concerned; they were able to formulate theoretical socialism. He even was one of such champions and for him, no class had a particular (special) interest. According to More (he believed that):

  • All persons should be busy in their works
  • They should choose work as per their choice or as the  elders assigned to them

Moreover, he expects people to (must) be helpful to one another, in case of all them do different or various jobs, they will have employment; in this way, there would be no issue (problem) of unemployment as well as poverty. 

Actually, Thomas More worked in different positions in his lifetime. For instance, (a) Member of Parliament (b) Chancellor, and (c) Under-Sherrif are some of them. This is the thing that suggests that he was not unaware of the economic condition of the people. He did not favor/like inequality by communism or capitalism. So, he wanted equality among all the people for a really ideal state. 

The social structure of Utopia is also an indicator of the aforementioned thing.  They have no greed for anything in excess. The traveler Raphael Hythloday argues:

  • Injustice as inequality in possessions,  as well as,
  • Justice as equal distribution.

Moreover, he suggests it for the whole population as well. It will lead to abundance as well as happiness for all people – as per his opinion/view. In addition, there is also no property as well as the citizenry is assigned positions in the workforce to suit the needs of production in the economic plan.

Here, all citizens are not only trained as agricultural workers but also in at least one non-agricultural profession/craft. It is noteworthy that employment in agriculture or non-agricultural professions is fully based on the needs of the states. 

Ques: Who are Brutheskas in Utopia ?

Ans: Utopian priests are known as Brutheskas.

Ques: What are the main themes in Utopia?

Ans: (a) ‘Common welfare vs private interest’ (b) ‘systemization as well as uniformity’ (c) ‘exploration through travel as well as philosophy, and (d) ‘morals, education of citizens, as well as civic virtue’ are the major themes in Utopia.

Ques: Who is the Prince in Utopia?

Ans: He is the ruler of Utopia. The magistrates elected him. The Prince rules for life. His son does not take his position after his death. Therefore, a new prince is elected.

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