Wonderful, you may say, or is it? It would be foolish to assume that More’s Utopia was nothing more than a simple literary invention, a mere place where people are happy, work hard and there is social harmony. More’s Utopia is not a picture of how the world should be, but rather a warning of how it should not. It is for this reason I believe that not only would the majority of us not want to live in Utopia, but that also it would be impossible for us to.
When reading through Utopia it is easy to see that there are certain ideas which mirror what was happening in England around the time More was writing. More believed that the rise of the Protestant church posed a grave threat to “the social and political order in Christian Europe. ” He saw Lutherans as a growing threat, burning over five of them at the stake in support of the anti heresy laws at the time. Upon reading More’s masterpiece, it is easy to see the depictions of this in his text. The book is brimming with ideas which I can directly link to what was happening in England around the time More was writing. The fact that adultery is punishable by slavery, and the complete mistrust of the ‘foreigner’ signal that More was commenting on Protestants or those outside out his perfect world, i. e. England. He speaks excessively about money as the root of all evils, and having to, to put it simply, ban free speech as it could lead to an attack against the ruling royal family.
Rather than asking should we like to live in Utopia, we should be asking would we like to live in sixteenth century England according to More? Of course though, as far as historical documentations show, England was not in as much of a state that More would like you to believe. Although wars raged amongst many about what was the true nature of Christianity. More’s depiction is brimming with satire. Female priests? Slavery? Everybody (especially women and all religions), equal? More was writing about how England could become should it fall slave to the Protestant ‘dictatorship. ’
Utopia was far from the belief that it is the ideal society, it was actually the complete opposite to that. When reading the text in detail this is obvious.
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