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MonkeyNotes-Utopia by Sir Thomas More
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Summarization of Hythloday's Argument

In the final section of the book, Hythloday exhorts his admiration for the Utopian way of life. Ultimately he believes this is the best society because people are not driven to acquire wealth for themselves but must think about the good of all citizens. Although no one owns anything, in a way, each citizen owns a share of everything because he has contributed to making it in some way.

There is no private property in Utopia. Everything is owned by the state. Therefore, everyone is well taken care of. This gives the Utopians time to work for the public. People do not have to fear old age. The state takes care of its citizens irrespective of their occupation. There is a no division of haves and have-nots. Utopia, in fact, has no money and needs no money. A number of crimes like fraud and theft are thereby avoided.

The lack of money does away with one major social ill - pride that makes one person feel superior to another. This has a salutary effect upon Utopian society. At the end of the treatise, Hythloday concludes that the commonwealth of Utopia is the best in the world and although More does not agree with everything he has said, he does see the importance of adopting some of the measures mentioned.


Notes

It is in this last section that Hythloday actually argues those aspects of Utopian life that tend to persuade him to adopt some of the principles of Utopian society. Community property and the lack of money are the two most salient features of this society. Because of this competition does not exist, and many crimes motivated by greed would not take place. He makes the point of wondering why one would want to live in a society that allows a certain portion of the population to starve and the other portion to not work but exploit those who do when a society such as Utopia exists. It is a communist form of society, which relies on the goodness of people to make it work as has a strong basis of Christian ethics that pervade all aspects of the society.

More's final thoughts provide his own insights into Hythloday's account of Utopia. Although he sees many problems with the Utopian system and would like to argue some points with Hythloday, he does realize that some of what Hythloday has said struck a chord with him and therefore he can see them being adopted in Europe. In these final paragraphs, More is making an appeal for a more humane and just system of government.

Esme Wingfield-Stratford, the English historian, comments, "Here is a statement of social problems to which not even a Marx or a Lenin could add much. And this was written in the distant dawn of capitalist industry by a devout catholic, a future Chancellor of Henry VIII and strangest of all -- a persecutor." (Wingfield- Stratford, Esme. The History of British Civilization, Vol. 1 p. 319).

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