Project #27759 - Book Review

Book Review of Utopia by Sir Thomas More

 

Review Guideline:

Book review should befourtofivepages in length (12-pointfont)double-spaced. Include a bibliography if you consult other resource material. If you quote from the text, do so sparingly, use quotations marks, and cite the page number immediately following the quotation. Your review should include the following: brief background information on the author, the theme, main purpose of the book. Include specifics and mention any fundamental questions raised by the author. Comment on the author's style and the historical significance of the book.

Thomas More wrote Utopia as an expression of the faith and hope that he held against the anger and despair he felt. It is his commentary on the society and politics of his day and a statement of his own values. More was at heart a deeply and traditionally religious man who wore a hair shirt next to his skin to do penance while on the outside he wore the robes and symbols of his high office and status. He was also culturally a man of the Renaissance and interested in the ancient world. He believed, like many of the Renaissance, that men could and should repudiate much of the culture of their day and adopt a better one. He was particularly critical of the clergy and institutions of the Catholic Church. He was influenced instead by the simplicity of the early Christian church that emphasized doing good in everyday life. Utopia is a place where a Renaissance man would feel at home.

As a lawyer, he was outraged by injustices in England and rejected the Medieval world view that the social order was divinely ordained. This belief implied that if the social order was right, then if a man sinned it was because he chose to do so. But to More, it was English society that forced men to be evil and then punished them for doing what it forced them to do. He designed Utopia to do the opposite - to incline men to do good rather than evil. How?

More was also critical of rulers. Henry VII and Henry VIII trampled on the law to achieve their ends. In Book One, More poses the question whether a good man might do some good in an evil system or whether it would corrupt him instead. His answer in Utopia is pessimistic; in his life he made a more optimistic decision. You should comment on this.

Utopia is considered a great work of literature as well as social thought. Its strength is its internal consistency, its logical and organized society. How does More design Utopia to reflect his Renaissance and Christian humanist values? What does he see as the source of most of man's problems and how does he design Utopia to eliminate this? What do you find appealing about Utopia? Do you find anything disagreeable? Do you have any criticisms of More's utopian system?

 

Subject History
Due By (Pacific Time) 04/23/2014 12:00 am
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