Is More's Utopia a Product of Its Time? Essay

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Sir Thomas More in 1516 first conceived utopia while he served as an ambassador For England on a party expedition to Flanders. In England his vocation was law and he held the position of Under-Sheriff his knowledge in this area is an obvious influence in Utopian society. Utopia is a chronicle of More's fictitious meeting with Raphael Hythlodaeus a traveller who has lived in Island, republic society of Utopia for five years. Almost five hundred years after its writing utopia is still the subject of controversy; it has been claimed by certain political and religious followings to be specific to their ideals and beliefs. Notably both communists and Catholics of the last few centuries have reasoned Utopia to be a statement of their beliefs.…show more content…
At the time of Utopia's writing England's Monarchy was in a tenuous situation as Henry VIII was growing frustrated with the lack of male heirs borne to him by Catherine of Aragon. More was a respected and important figure in Henrys court and as such he knew the consequences of defying Henry's will.

As a figure of public notoriety and authority he was constantly aware of the corruptible nature of other officials. His morals can be seen as a heavy influence in utopia and he often talks about the nature of Utopians and their lack of pride, vanity and greed. "Pride like a hellish serpent gliding through human hearts-or, shall we say, like a sucking fish that clings to the ship of state? It is always dragging us back, and obstructing our progress towards a better way of life" . This statement appears from the last pages of Utopia indicating its significance in the way More viewed his society. The Ship of state could be construed as a direct reference to the king and courtiers "sucking fish" Henry VIII was well known for his obstinate pride and it is likely that More was implying this statement as a whole but influenced by his knowledge of the King and court. The same can be said of the laws and punishments that exist in utopia, as a lawyer More must have brought his own vocational knowledge to the idyllic law and order system of

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