on,More theory,he was in fact a staunch

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on,More tells us aboutthe flawless system of governing which he establishes.In his writings More
reflects the aspirations of a Renaissance man.This both caused him to be
considered as the Socrates of Europe and to be executed in the face of his
disobedience against the king.Ideas of Humanism and Reformation had found
refuge in More’s mind.While carrying such qualities in theory,he was in
fact a staunch radical in real life.Although he had to at loggerheads with
the Church for his sympathy towards Reformation, he was against Reformation
in religion and this prepared the way for his execution.But the excellent
masterpiece Utopia clearly laid out these ideas of Renaissance and
Reformation.That is why More was a humanist and a Renaissance man and also
a Reformist though he opposed against the application of Reformist ideas to
the Church.For this reason,we have to dwell upon these movements to see how
More sometimes contradicts the period.In fact,there is no way we can differ
Renaiisance and Reformation.These movements which arose with the interest
in classical works in Italy contradict with the manners of the medieval
Catholic Church;Medieval Christianity considered people to be natural
sinners,chivalric codes and heroic deeds were in the foreground,there was
no hope for salvation because only after death could man attain happiness
for which reason body as the source of sins had to be severely
punished.Catholic church was immersed in religious bigotry;renaisance and
reformation fought to reverse this trend;people were naturally good,war was
untowardly,perfection could be reached in an honest social structure,people
could reach happiness in this world and there was no actual need to punish
the body,there had to be religiou?s liberty.More had these ideas as a
Renaissance man;he cared about human and nature.Even though he does not act
like that in real life,Utopia displays him like a genuine Reformist and he
is amongst those humanist writers who are displeased with the corruptions
of the church.But,he was against reformation in that he saw the papacy as a
uniting power and thought that its fraction would cause instability.In his
speeches wiyh Hytholoday,he shows himself supporting unity in religion.In
the period,the belief that drastic changes had to be made in the church was
growing strong.Reformation movement also was strengthened in England by the
divorce of Henry VIII and his proclaiming himself to be the head of the
English church.More was executed for opposing to accept the king as the
head of the church.Thomas More,despite his inconsistent manners in real
life,criticises his own society in a srtict manner.And his spokesman is the
captain Raphael who traveled with Vespuci.He tells us about Utopia and the
things which he tells us are the opposite of what was taking place in the
16th century.In this context,we can say that More criticises his own
society in terms of religion,socisl life,law,education and economy.

Middle Ages saw social and economic progress in waging wars;the kings
thought about nothing else but capturing new lands.They considered it fit
to povertise the society for their own intersets.Governors were on the
whole were corrupted and there was the belief that the king was the
representative of God and that he had the right to do whatever he
liked.They always looked to the past and never thought about future
itself.This radical stance of the kings and the rulers caused the public to
be oppressed and povertised both economically and socially.In the first
book he gives voice to these corruptions through Raphael;
“to start with, most kings are most interested in the science of war -which
I dont know anything about, and dont want to- than in useful peacetime
techniques. They’re far more anxious, by hook or by crook, to acquire new
kingdoms than to govern their existing ones properly. Besides, privy
councillors are either too wise to need, or too conceited to take advise
from anyone else -though of course they’re always prepared to suck up to
the king’s special favourites by agreeing with the the silliest things they
“suppose, in such company, you suggest a policy that you have seen adopted
elsewhere, or for which you can quote a historical precedent, what will
happen? They will behave as though their professional reputations were at
stake, and they’d look fools for the rest of their lives if they couldnt
raise some objection to your proposal. Failing all else, their last resort
will be: ‘this was good enough for our ancestors, and who are we to
question their wisdom?’ Then they will settle back in their chairs, with an
air of having said the last word on the subject – as if it would be a major
disaster for anyone to be caught being wiser than his ancestors!”
What is more,More takes a stand against the engagement of people in acts of
war in his second book.According to what Raphael says,Utopians hate
violence so much so that they get other people form other countries to kill
the animals.They do not go to war unless it is inevitable and prefer to
fight through reason and not using rude power.He especially criticises his
own period in economical terms.Income injustice and the unequal
distribution of wealth and the occasion of a certain class grabbing a high
portion of the national wealth while the common people are suffering from
hunger and the suppression of the peasants was a reality in 16th century
england.Raphael touches upon the harm which this system does to the
“well, first of all there are lots of noblemen who live like drones
on the labour of other people, in other words, of their tenants, and keep
bleeding them white by constantly raising their rents. For that’s their
only idea of practical economy -otherwise they’d soon be ruined by their
“…..to put it more plainly, in those parts of the kingdom where the
finest, and so the most expensive wool is produced, the nobels and
gentlemen, not to mention several saintly abbots, have grown dissatisfied
with the income that their predecessors got out of their estates. They are
no longer content to lead lazy, comfortable lives, which do no good to
society -they must actively do it harm, by enclosing all the land they can
for pasture, and leaving none for cultivation. They are even tearing down
houses and demolishing whole towns- except, of course, for the churches,
which they preserve for use as sheepfold. As though they didnt waste enough
of your soil already on their coverts and game-preserves, these kind souls
started destroying all traces of human habitation, and turning every scrap
of farmland into a wilderness. ‘so what happens?’ each greedy individual
preys on his native land like a malignant growth, absorbing field after
field, and enclosing thousands of acres with a single fence.”
Whereas, the case is not the same in Utopia.There is no sense of private
property in Utopia.Every one is able to use one another’s tools if
necessary.Also,there is no such thing like money in Utopia.Everybody takes
whatever he likes from a shop as long as not too much.A Total of 54 cities
barter the things which they need between themselves.To prevent the feeling
of property,Utopians change houses every ten years casting their
lots.Whereas,in his time,there was a sense of extreme property,egoism and
drive for material gain.Rulers were doing all they could to augment their
wealth and were exploiting the public.Also,at those times people cared
about precious materials and it had become almost an addiction to go to
exotic countries and loot their resources.Whereas,the utopians looked at
these things as being low and base and put precious metals on criminals or
gave them to the children to play.In this way,he criticises his own society
using Raphael.And to avoid any punishment,he makes these accusations
through the voice of Raphael.In his time laws were not justful and did not
work the way it had to;the laws were elaborate and complicated.Most of the
times,these laws were being manipulated by the rulers for their own
interests and desires.Also,people who were stealing things for a loaf of
bread were being killed.This was a sort of injustice which arose from an
unbalanced law system.In Utopia the case is the other way round;laws are
not complicated.It is understood by everyone.No one is executed unless
ascertained that he deserves it.No one resorts to stealing.Every one has a
job and no one think about having more.Whereas,in England,the aristocracy
did not have any occupation and most of the people were idlers with no
contribution to the society.So,most suffered from hunger.

“you see how it is -wherever you are, you always have to work. There is
never any excuse for idleness……… Under such a system, there is bound
to be plenty of everything, and, as everything is divided equally among the
entire population, there obviously cant be any poor people or beggars. Each
town, you remember, sends three representatives to the annual Lietalk, to
Parliament, at Aircastle. There they collect details of theyear’s
production, and as soon as it’s clear which products are plentiful in each
areas, and which are in short supply, they arrange for a series of
transfers to equalizedistribution.”

What is more,equal distribution of labor among the public enabled them to
spare more time for activities like reading.As opposed to over-indulgence
in luxury,every one in Utopia had his own moderate way of life and thus
everyone would find enough time for reading or artistic activities.Thus,not
only economically but also socially did he introduce changes.At those
times,academic knowledge was witihn the grasp of a few cluster of
people.Whereas in Utopia education goes on for a life time and everyone is
offered an equal chance to improve himself.He does not criticise his own
century only in terms of political or social corruption but also in terms
of religious bigotry.Although religious narrow-mindedness was begining to
fade away,the church was still against the reform movements.More seems to
be siding with the reformers in his Utopia.In 16th century europe,there
were huge religious conflicts.The need for reform was strongly felt.Those
who complained about the licentiousness of the priests wanted to go back to
the ancient simple principless of Christianity.The movement which began in
the form of a religioud reform was supported by the examining character of
Renaissance and looked for salvation in the past.These were the things
which More did not like about Christianity of the times;Christianity is
pessimistic.Christianity has the underlying belief that the world is prone
to evil and that it is naturally corrupt and thus has to be
avoided.Whereas,Utopians seek to enjoy life.Just like a Renaissance
man,they are optimistic and believe that good things also happen.The
Christianity thought that body had to suffer for the soul to reach
salvation in the hereafter.Although Catholicism banned divorce,Utopians
were allowed to divorce if either one of the couple sufffered from any
physical harm or was fooled.The Utopians also favour the idea of letting a
man kill himself to escape from his pains whereas Christianity forbade
suicide.In a roundabout way,he also complains about the superfluous numbers
of the priests.Also he introduces some new changes which may even amaze us
1-Priest are elected by the vote of the public
2-Priests are allowed to marry.

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3-Old women may become priests.

These ideas resemble much the principles which Luther tries to spread.In
Utopia there was complete religious freedom.

“when utopos heard how they’d behaved, he realized that this was why he ‘d
been able to conquer the whole lot of them. So immediately after his
victory he made a law, by which everyone was free to practise what religion
he liked, and to try and convert other people to his own faith, provided he
did it quietly and politely, by rational argument.”
While making such criticisms of the society,he does this in a way which
resembles socialism.His work Utopia contained elements of the three
movements which shaped the modern european world.More is righteously
remembered for his work Utopia which we consider to be quite innovative and
radical when we consider the age of conflics in which he was living.

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