Utopia Summary and Analysis of Conclusion

Conclusion Summary:

In a final letter to his friend, Peter Giles, More discusses the initial reception of Utopia. In particular, the writer describes a certain unnamed critic who generally approved of the work yet found some of the Utopian practices absurd. More appreciates the critic who makes an effort to read carefully and pay attention to details. The form of the work Utopia should be judged separate from the content of the work and the policies of the Utopian society. More states that he does not agree with all of the Utopian practices; he has simply presented them to the reader. Finally, More argues that if his work were fictional, he would supply ample details to make this clear. More cannot attest to the truth of the work, and the reader must seek out Raphael Hythloday if more information about Utopia is desired.


More takes a reflective tone in his final letter but the reader should be well aware that More is not telling the literal truth. He describes his work as not necessarily "a fictional presentation which would make the truth slip more pleasantly into the mind like medicine smeared with honey." At the same time, More gives the clues conforming that his work is fictional: the name Utopia means that the island is nowhere; the name of the city Amaurot means phantom; the name of the river Anyder means that there is no water; and the name of the ruler, Ademus, means that he has no people.

The simile of "medicine smeared with honey," describes Utopia as a corrective‹a book for the moral education of the reader. The fictional and invented aspects are like honey, intended to sweeten the actual object. More's responses to the critic suggest that the author does indeed have a defined sense of how his work is to be read and interpreted. Though he worries that the "honey" aspects of Utopia may discredit the work as a philosophical treatise, More remains confident that the careful reader will be able to extract the medicine and recognize the honey for what it is.