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Utopia By Thomas More (1478-1535) Essay, Research Paper

The term “Utopia” has come to mean an

idyllic, visionary Shang-ri-la type of community. However, when More derived

the term from the Greek, it literally meant “nowhere.” In essence, both

are correct: Utopia can represent both a mythical, impossible retreat and

a great guiding social ideal.

Much of More’s book was extracted from

and influenced by the Bible, especially from the “Christian Humanists”

biblical interpretations that formed a vanguard of social criticism in

his time. Along with Erasmus, another humanist philosopher, More yearned

to change his world for the better. He saw that wanton greed and terrible

poverty were often irrevocably bound to one another, and he argued vehemently

for the closing of the separation between classes.

More’s Utopia, of course, has never been

achieved; perhaps it never will be achieved – nor should ever be sought.

But this comment on European society, in his time, reflects the great challenges

that have faced societies throughout history. Tensions born of moral struggles

- between power and equality; between work for survival and work to acquire

luxury; between creative, joyful leisure and laziness; between the actual

and the ideal – these are basic issues for our time and for all times.

And More’s Utopia embraces and attempts to clarify them all.


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