Essay on Utopia

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Thomas More’s, Utopia is one of the most politically and socially influential texts to date. His audience, which ranges from academic and social scholars to college students, all can gain a different understanding of the work and it’s meaning. In order to fully comprehend More’s message, one must have an appreciation for the time and culture in which he lived. After grasping historical concepts, one reads Utopia, not as just a volume recounting a fictitious island society, but rather as a critique on a time of corruption and reformation. Throughout the entire text, More’s personal views on the religion, politics, and economy of this turbulent time seep through the carefully plotted thread of this critical work. …show more content…
He goes one step further to make himself a character as the voice of reason. In the time that More wrote the novel, these views were so radical that, had they not had some sort of a disclaimer provided, he could have been punished. Raphael describes the Utopians in detail. More spends an exceptionally large amount of time discussing the Utopians religious beliefs. He describes them as monotheists, stating, “they believe in a single power, unknown, eternal, infinite, inexplicable, far beyond the grasp of the human mind”(73). More stresses this notion of civility in a heathen culture where Christianity had not touched until Hythloday’s arrival. The only religious law that must be followed, which was created by Utopia’s founder, Utopus, claims that any religion is permissible if it includes the notion of an afterlife. He writes this to an audience who he believes has lost all sense of what Christianity truly is. R.W. Chamber states, “The Four Cardinal Virtues—Wisdom, Fortitude, Temperance and Justice…were taken into the medieval system…and were sufficient to ensure that a man or a State might be a model of conduct in secular matters”(138). He says that heathen cultures, like Utopia, are based on these Virtues that are “subsidiary to, not a substitute for, the Christian virtues”(138). Chamber’s idea suggests that More uses the concept of the Utopians, as heathens, working in a successful and yet Non-Christian society, as proof that just because one

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