Reform In Thomas More's Utopia Essay

1880 words - 8 pages

In Thomas More’s Utopia, Raphael Hythloday proposes reform to capital punishment such that capital punishment is for murder but not theft. The author critiques the proposal through the use of other characters symbolic of distinct perspectives to debate against his reform. Thomas More’s Utopia presents a reform through Raphael Hythloday, theft will not be given the death penalty, to the English judicial system. Hythloday mentions his proposal to a lawyer, the character More, Peter Giles, and Cardinal Morton. The main purpose of these characters is to criticize from certain perspectives against his idea. However, there is an opposite effect in which the criticism creates reinforcement for Raphael’s reform.
To begin with, Thomas More’s Utopia was published in 1516 before the reformation began but still during the renaissance. The renaissance was the rebirth of the classics. Part of this came the renewal of rhetoric and Humanism, a way of thought that “placed great emphasis on the dignity of man and upon the expanded possibilities of human life in this world” (Brooklyn College).The importance being that Thomas More was a humanist and the character that portrays him is exceptionally skilled in rhetoric.
The first discussion chronologically to occur is the debate Raphael has with the lawyer. The lawyer is meant to represent the perspective of rationality. The lawyer makes critical reasons against Raphael’s idea witch Raphael is able to dismiss. First is the lawyer says that thievery should not be a necessity because the thief can always learn a craft to earn his livelihood: “there are many handicrafts, and there is husbandry, by which they may make a shift to live unless they have a greater mind to follow ill courses”. Basically, the lawyer is saying that thieves steal because they rather steal than learn one of the many different crafts possible. The lawyer is making arguments based on his observation and biases of people. His comments do not involve religious counterpoints but only ones from his rationale. Another argument is that death is the ultimate deterrent to crime but Raphael disproves this. He says that a man is forced to steal to save his livelihood, the death penalty only encourages him to kill the witness.
The next criticizer, the cardinal, is symbolic of the religious perspective and is essential in the critique of Raphael’s reform because of the influence of religion in politics and law. Raphael is able to justify his reform with the use of religion to strengthen his argument. The first part of the discussion between Raphael and the cardinal is around the basis of religious teaching. This is key in Thomas More’s self-critique and continues to support reform which is ultimately that of the author. The points the character pose are illustrative of possible counterarguments that will be created against the author. The author can then retort the counterarguments through Raphael Hythloday. The religious argument is made that if laws can be...

Find Another Essay On reform In thomas More's Utopia

Thomas More's Utopia Essay

1244 words - 5 pages Thomas More’s Utopia is a work of ambiguous dualities that forces the reader to question More’s real view on the concept of a utopian society. However, evidence throughout the novel suggests that More did intend Utopia to be the “best state of the commonwealth.” The detailed description of Utopia acts as Mores mode of expressing his humanistic views, commenting on the fundamentals of human nature and the importance of reason and natural law

Analysis of Thomas More's Utopia

6081 words - 24 pages 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

Analysis of Thomas More's Utopia

656 words - 3 pages What is it about Thomas More's Utopia that makes it as accessible and relevant to a 21st century westernized Catholic teenage boy as it did to an 18th century middle aged Jewish women? Utopia, a text written 500 odd years ago in differing country and language, is still a valid link to a contemporary understanding of society, human nature and morals. Through More's Utopia, it becomes evident that the trans-historical and trans-cultural nature of

Thomas More' s Utopia, In what ways does Utopia function as a critique of More's time?

891 words - 4 pages that Thomas More talks about.In general we can say that Thomas More critisizes Henry VII and his behaviours on the city. So The Utopia functions on the opposite way of More's time.Thomas More talks about Religion in Utopia. Especially Utopus' opinions about the religion is very important here because Henry VII's opinions are very wrong for Thomas More. He shows us his own opinions by this. Utopus says that maybe The God wants people to show their

Thomas More's Utopia and His Context

3527 words - 14 pages studied at Florence and Rome. But he was also a close friend of Erasmus, whose outspoken criticism of the church had been described as the ‘egg that Luther hatched when he launched the Reformation’. In 1517, one year after the completion of Utopia, Luther published his 95 theses, and the subsequent movement put an end to the hopes of men such as More and Erasmus that reform in the church might be achieved without a final split. Sir Thomas

Visions of a Perfect Society Illustrated in Machiavelli's The Prince and Thomas More's Utopia

518 words - 2 pages When people think about the ‘perfect’ society, all will have a different idea on the topic. For example, Thomas More wrote in ‘Utopia’ of a society where all of the cities were exactly the same. Whereas Niccolo Machiavelli wrote about how a society should be ruled in ‘The Prince.’ Both works paint a portrait of leadership and laws, as well as life and society. In ‘The Prince’, Machiavelli isn’t describing the aspects of a perfect society, he is

Comparing Sir Thomas More's Utopia and Virgil's Aeneid

2376 words - 10 pages Identity and Power in Sir Thomas More's Utopia and Virgil's Aeneid In Utopia and the Aeneid, Sir Thomas More and Virgil describe the construction and perpetuation of a national identity. In the former, the Utopian state operates on the “inside” by enforcing, through methods of surveillance, a normalized identity on its citizens under the guise of bettering their lives. In the latter, the depleted national identity of the future Romans in

Thomas More's Utopia and its impact on English society during the Renaissance.

1447 words - 6 pages The "Middle" Ages were followed by the Renaissance, a time in which art and literature flourished. Thomas More, the first English humanist of the Renaissance, was born in London during this period. More's style is simple because of its colloquial language but a deeper look into his irony hints at deep dissatisfaction with the current thought and desire for change. "Utopia" (which in Greek means "nowhere") is the name of More's fictional island

Utopia. The Ideal Society. My definition of an Utopian society and what it would consist of. (written after reading Thomas More's "Utopia")

674 words - 3 pages someone that is held in high regard. Equality is when all living things are equal, and no one or thing is any better than another. These are the grounds on which the utopian society can prevail.The foundation of the ideal society rests on the human mind. Knowledge brings better understanding. Education and knowledge are very important to this society. Religion dies because people do not feel confused, inferior, or empty. Citizens of the utopia

Private and Corporate Vocations in Utopia by Thomas More

976 words - 4 pages Private and Corporate Vocations in Utopia by Thomas More Thomas More believed in private and corporate vocations. His beliefs are evident in his book Utopia. He said that everybody has a vocation and it is their responsibility to live up to what gifts they have been given by God. Private vocations exist with the individual person. Married, single, or religious life? Also, what kind of job one does is considered a vocation because you

Inequality in Machiavelli's The Prince, More's Utopia, and Las Casas' Account of the Destruction of the Indies

1543 words - 6 pages three books written in the sixteenth century including Machiavelli's The Prince, Thomas More's Utopia, and Bartolome de Las Casas' A short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. For more than five hundred years people have been influenced and intrigued by Machiavelli's ideas of what a political framework for a sustainable principality should be. His book has left audiences shocked and appalled at the brutality required of a prince, but the

Similar Essays

Thomas More's Utopia Essay

1502 words - 6 pages Throughout Thomas More's Utopia, he is able to successfully criticize many of the political, social, and economic ways of the time. His critique of feudalism and capitalism would eventually come back to haunt him, but would remain etched in stone forever. On July 6, 1535, by demand of King Henry VIII, More was beheaded for treason. His last words stood as his ultimate feeling about royalty in the 15th and 16th centuries, "The King's good

Thomas More's Utopia Essay

2018 words - 8 pages remain private. Sir Thomas More was, for the majority of his life, an example of the first faction, the conformists. An English Rennaisance humanist, More held many government offices, including that of Lord Chancellor. These positions are testament to More's very conformist points of view.In 1516, More published a literary work titled Utopia, Greek for "nowhere", in which a fictional character by the name of Raphael Hythloday discusses his travels

Thomas More's "Utopia" Essay

1563 words - 6 pages Is America a modern feudal society?In 1516, Sir Thomas More also known as the patron saint of lawyers book "Utopia" was first published. In Utopia More discusses the European power politics of his day through a novel, which serves as a political discourse spoken from a fictional character by the name of Raphael Hythloday. Hythloday's character is used as a mouthpiece so Thomas More can critically discuss the politics of England, catholic church

Thomas More's Utopia Essay

1396 words - 6 pages Thomas More’s Utopia is a work of ambiguous dualities that forces the reader to question More’s real view on the concept of a utopian society. However, evidence throughout the novel suggests that More did intend Utopia to be the “best state of the commonwealth.” The detailed description of Utopia acts as Mores mode of expressing his humanistic views, commenting on the fundamentals of human nature and the importance of reason and natural law