Essay about Analysis of Thomas More's Utopia

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Analysis of Thomas More's Utopia The historical Thomas More, the author of Utopia, was an extraordinarily complicated man who tied up all the threads of his life in his heroic death. The Utopia is the sort of complicated book that we should expect from so complicated a man. It is heavy with irony, but then irony was the experience of life in the Sixteenth Century. Everywhere--in church, government, society, and even scholarship--profession and practice stood separated by an abyss.

The great difficulty of irony is that we cannot always be sure when the ironic writer or speaker is being serious and when he is being comical. We find that difficulty in Utopia. Edward Hall, the great chronicler of English history of More's
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More took the communism of Plato's republic or of the "golden age" supposed by Ovid and later adapted by the Christian fathers.[7] But he kept the fallen human nature that Augustine believed to be the curse of the Fall. He then created a literary carnival, allowed himself the freedom of speculating on the sort of commonwealth would arise from a juxtaposition of seemingly contrary ideas. No wonder that the little poem that introduces the work, supposedly done by "Mr. Windbag," the son of Raphael's sister, declares,

Plato's Republic now I claim
To match, or beat at its own game.[8]

More's work aims to take into account a "true" and pessimistic view of human nature, one quite different from Plato's Socratic optimism. If Utopia is truer, it is therefore better.

So if we look at Utopia with More's Augustinian eye, we see a witty play on how life might develop in a state that tried to balance these two impulses--human depravity and a communist system aimed at checking the destructive individualism of corrupt human nature. It is carnival, a festival, not a plan for reform. When the carnival is over, and we come to the end of the book, reality reasserts itself with a crash. More did not see in Utopia a plan of revolutionary reform to be enacted in Christian Europe. Remember the subtitle "On the best state of a Republic and of the new island Utopia, a book truly golden, not less salutary than festive." The key word is "festiuus,"[9] usually

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