The Roots of Happiness

1560 Words 7 Pages
Early Modern Europe experienced several tragedies in which the citizens sensed that there must be a better way to live where happiness was more familiar. Alterations for what truly defines absolute happiness in a society during these times of catastrophe were expressed through utopian literature. Thomas More’s Utopia, Tomasso Campanella’s City of the Sun, and Caron De Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro together attempt to answer what truly creates a happy civilization during different periods of crisis within Europe. Each of these utopian literature’s suggest a different origin that happiness derives from, soundly signifying that change in Europe would be beneficial. The revolutionary ideas of change in Europe proposed by Utopia, City of …show more content…
Another interesting approach that Utopia takes to encourage happiness is to have no punishment by death to those who steal. The belief was that without the punishment of death and instead forcing the accused to manual labor, in return, there would be no thieves. Showing Utopias Erasmian influence, this idea was derived directly from the Romans who also used manual labor for punishment of thievery. Clearly then, this utopia was pushing for happiness that would not be focused on materialistic goods. Instead, these utopians derived their happiness from moral pleasure, or any enjoyment that was not destructive to the body or morals of themselves or others. For example, the people of Utopia obtained gratification from philosophical debate between others. Happiness was very important to this society for the reason that they believed that God had created man to be happy and enjoy life. Furthermore, God had planted appetites in man for good and healthy things in order to promote a happy life. Thus, citizens were also able to obtain moral pleasure from the natural act of eating. However during this time Europeans were predominantly Catholic, believing in original sin and the idea that suffering was necessary for redemption of the afterlife. But, Thomas More made this radical statement contradictory for the reason that happiness was so acute in Europe
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