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MonkeyNotes-Utopia by Sir Thomas More
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CONFLICT

Protagonist: Utopia elucidates a thesis about ideal socia l conditions and therefore lacks a plot. Also, characters are not important, although one could make an argument that Raphael Hythloday is the protagonist. A learned mariner, he has accompanied Amerigo Vespucci, the Pilot Major, on his voyages. In the fourth and last voyage, Hythloday and a few of his companions, set out on adventures of their own. In the course of their wanderings, the party came upon Utopia, an ideal state, and spent some time there.

By the time the readers meet him, Hythloday is fairly old ("well stricken in years" as More describes him). Physically, he is a salty mariner whom one would have come across on any day in Bristol or Cadiz or Antwerp during the latter part of the sixteenth century. But Hythloday is different from these typical mariners as he has seen ideal conditions exist in Utopia and would like to impose that life on Europeans. Hythloday is a Renaissance voyager -- knowledgeable, well read, observant, objective. He genuinely believes that Utopia conditions should be established elsewhere in the world.

Hythloday is totally objective and his account is free from the instruction and preaching that are often the undoing of Utopia tales. But he is also a disillusioned man, he has seen perfection exist, yet he cannot convince the world that such a place exists. For the most part, Hythloday is used as a figure or device that spearheads the discussion among the three men of what makes an ideal society. He can be seen as the mouthpiece of the author who may have held similar views as Hythloday but feared repercussions if he were to make such exhortations about English society himself.


Antagonist: There is no antagonist. Utopia is a forum of discussion for creating an ideal state and does not have any drama or development of plot.

Climax: The same holds true for climax, also. Utopia is an exposition of ideas rather than a narrative and therefore does not have a climax.

Outcome: The ending of the book is bittersweet. After his long treatise about the ideal social conditions in Utopia, Hythloday wants to impose the same conditions in Europe, but he cannot convince his hearers to accept his beliefs. His final diatribe against pride as "the mother of mischief" is the voice of a disillusioned man. He is happy that at least one country -- Utopia -- has achieved perfection. The note ends on a note of hope, but with a suspicion that this hope may be mislaid.

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