Essays academic service


The concept of utopia according to thomas more

16th century dreams: Thomas More

Citizenship 16th century dreams: Thomas More Thomas More 1477 - 1535 wrote the first formal utopia. He imagined a complex, self-contained world set on an island, in which communities shared a common culture and way of life.

  • The 200 Syphogranti of a city elect a Prince in a secret ballot;
  • The Island of Utopia;
  • Every city sends three of their wisest senators once a year to Amaurot [the capital] to consult about their common concerns; for that is chief town of the island, being situated near the centre of it, so that it is the most convenient place for their assemblies;
  • He continued to argue against the king's divorce, the Reformation and the split with the Catholic church;
  • There, Greenblatt argued that More was under the Epicurean influence of Lucretius 's On the Nature of Things and the people that live in Utopia were an example of how pleasure has become their guiding principle of life.

This selection of extracts illustrates many of the systems and practices that More imagined for his Utopians. He defined systems of punishment, social hierarchy, agriculture and education, as well as customs for marriage, dress, and death. How do More's versions of social systems and practices compare with those of his own, real, 16th century world?

  • Yet, the puzzle is that some of the practices and institutions of the Utopians, such as the ease of divorce, euthanasia and both married priests and female priests , seem to be polar opposites of More's beliefs and the teachings of the Catholic Church of which he was a devout member;
  • There is a master and a mistress set over every family; and over thirty families there is a magistrate.

How do they compare with the world today? Which aspects did he retain? Which did he replace? Can you find clues to what he was reacting against?

Should we consider More's Utopia to be 'outside time' and set apart from the real world? Isolation is not only about geography - think about other measures of self-containment. What can More's Utopia tell us about citizenship in the 16th centuryand what we can learn about citizenship today?

  • If Marx was a prophet, it was not because he sought to foresee the future;
  • Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia.

Background Sir Thomas More was an English lawyer, writer, and statesman. However, More was also a passionate defender of Catholic orthodoxy.

  1. Perhaps it is impossible to draw a line between being too agnostic about the future and being too assured about it.
  2. Yet, the puzzle is that some of the practices and institutions of the Utopians, such as the ease of divorce, euthanasia and both married priests and female priests , seem to be polar opposites of More's beliefs and the teachings of the Catholic Church of which he was a devout member. More chose these letters, which are communications between actual people, to further the plausibility of his fictional land.
  3. He imagined a complex, self-contained world set on an island, in which communities shared a common culture and way of life.
  4. Thus the society Raphael proposes is the ideal More would want. It was not until 1551, sixteen years after More's execution, that it was first published in England as an English translation by Ralph Robinson.

More wrote in the 16th century, at the time of the Reformation, which set out to reform the Catholic Church in Europe and resulted in the development of Protestantism. When Henry established the Anglican Church, which allowed him to divorce Catherine of Aragon, More resigned his chancellorship.

Utopias, past and present: why Thomas More remains astonishingly radical

He continued to argue against the king's divorce, the Reformation and the split with the Catholic church. He was tried for treason and executed by beheading on July 6th 1535. The Island of Utopia.

  1. He was tried for treason and executed by beheading on July 6th 1535.
  2. Slavery is a feature of Utopian life and it is reported that every household has two slaves. The role allocated to women in Utopia might, however, have been seen as being more liberal from a contemporary point of view.
  3. It can be answered, however, that as a pagan society Utopians had the best ethics that could be reached through reason alone, or that More changed from his early life to his later when he was Lord Chancellor.
  4. This is one reason why Marx, who began his career in contention with the middle-class utopianists, steadfastly refused to engage in future-talk.