More's Utopia: Practical Idealism

Though Sir Thomas More took an active role in politics and the corrupt government of King Henry VIII, he remained rooted in his political and religious convictions. Famous for his willingness to die rather than betray his ideals, More showed throughout his life a desire to avoid compromising his beliefs. This inner struggle to balance idealistic wishes with less appealing but more attainable practical realities was an important theme in More's Utopia. Though More harshly criticized the wrongs of European society in Book One of Utopia, he idealistically presented a radical view of a new society in Book Two to force others to consider possible changes to society and to make them realize their own potential in creating better solutions to the problems of the sixteenth century.

More expressed his discontent with the Church through Raphael's strong condemnation of the hypocrisies of the institution and those belonging to it. Preachers "have fitted His doctrine to their lives" because the "greatest parts of His doctrine are opposite" them, declared Raphael (More 23). Raphael felt the preacher's actions would only make them "more secure in their wickedness" (More 23). More also mocked the...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1190 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9197 literature essays, 2397 sample college application essays, 405 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in