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Saturday, 10 August 2019

Sir Thomas More & Utopia

An Englishman must be accorded much importance and significance in the big preparation for the coming of the great Renaissance. He was an English humanist, with a rare creative originality. He was Sir Thomas More.
Sir Thomas More
Sir Thomas More
     

More was a noted lawyer as also a Member of Parliament. He was a great scholar and he finished his famous work The Utopia in 1516. That single work, though written in Latin, was a memorable achievement in the history of English literature. Of course, More had a number of other illustrious works in Latin, and remained a master author before the coming of the Renaissance. 

More's Utopia is deemed, of course quite rightly, as the true prologue to the Renaissance. Had it been written in English, he would have certainly occupied a very high rank in English literature. But even then, despite its origin in Latin, The Utopia has remained a memorable literary venture in the making of a new and modern literature in English. Its impact on the making of English Renaissance literature is not at all ignorable. 

More found the hints of the framework of The Utopia in the Portuguese and Spanish discoveries of new islands. He imagines Utopia as one of those newly found islands which were inhabited by aborigines. He idealised those islands as states with humanitarian outlook.

The ideal social order of the Utopians is the main theme of More's romance. He particularly emphasises not merely its novelty, but also its humanitarian basis. The Utopians live in friendship and amity. War is prohibited and the spirit of medieval chivalry is also strongly discarded in their society. Equality and fraternity are the basic ideals of their social living. Life is all pleasant there and work is never strenuous and prolonged. There is no religious dogmatism, nor any sort of scholasticism in More's picture of Utopia. All religions are authorised and tolerance is the very principle of living there. Indeed, the picture is of a perfectly organised socialistic, secular and liberal society. 

Indeed, More's conception of the Utopian Society is an ideal one. It is a perfectly communistic order, without the characteristic communistic regimentation. It is the picture of a society, where the exploitation of the poor by the rich, where the tyranny of the mighty over the weak, where inequality and injustice are absolutely absent. Humanism and liberalism are the basic points of the Utopian order, as conceived by More.

Unfortunately, that great humanist and man of letters incited the royal image for his strict maintenance of principal. He became the victim of monarchial injustice and was imprisoned in the Tower of London and finally executed on the charge of treason in 1535.

Utopia

Sir Thomas More's Utopia was originally written in Latin and printed in 1516. The work was a part of the literary preparation for the coming of the Renaissance in England. It is deemed, of course quite rightly as true prologue to the Renaissance.

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