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Utopia was written by Sir Thomas More and published in 1516. It is a work of fiction and political philosophy. It was first published in Latin.
More has been sent to Antwerp as an ambassador for King Henry VIII. When he is not doing his work, More spends time with his friend, Peter Giles. As the two of them are talking, they meet a man named, Raphael Hytholday. Raphael turns out to be a philosopher and a world traveler. More and Giles want to hear about his travels, so they have lunch together. Raphael begins to tell them about his travels to the New World, south of the equator and into Asia. He tells them he eventually lands on an island called Utopia. After hearing all of this, More and Giles, think he would make an excellent counselor to the king. Raphael refuses to do this, because he says that a king will always have counselors that agree with him and his values. The men take a break after lunch, but want to hear more about Utopian society. They meet again for dinner and Raphael begins to tell them how Utopia is perfect, in his mind.
He tells them how the founder, General Utopus, conquered the isthmus on which the island now sits. There was a great public work effort to clear the land and make the island. There are 54 cities on the island, and each city is divided into 4 equal parts. Utopia is a nation based on national thought, communal property. They also have great productivity and no love of gold. There are no class distinctions, no poverty, very little crime. They also believe in religious tolerance and have little inclination to start any kind of wars. Each city consists of 6,000 households and each household has 2 slaves each. They slaves are either from another country or they are criminals from Utopia. There is a sense of fairness among the people. The women work along with the men and they all make a living. They believe in euthanasia as well.
More decides that Europe would not do well with this type of society, though he likes some of the concepts, but never states which ones. Sir Thomas More was a strong catholic, and is most famous for his death. He was not willing to denounce his faith and was ultimately killed for this. There are certain things within the book, that are against what Catholics believe. They did not believe in euthanasia, for one. Also the idea of having slaves, but it is considered such a far advanced society. This writing was More's way of showing us that there is no such thing as a perfect place here on earth. There will always be something wrong somewhere.
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