English Class: Western Literature

Utopia: More’s Satire

By writing Utopia, which had ideas that were not in accord with the Catholic Church, was Thomas More putting his life in peril? This hardly seems likely for may reasons. As a work of satire, More did not believe most of what he wrote, he was simply writing the book to show how absurd the renaissance ideas were. No one would have taken the ideas from Utopia (no private property, no money, communism in short) seriously,

Thomas More, Photo Credit: Wikipedia

and More knew that. For example the idea that individuals could follow any religion they wished, was far from what More believed. In fact he himself, as Lord Chancellor, persecuted Protestants simply because they did not believe what the Catholic Church taught. This leads us to think that neither More nor his readers believed what was written in Utopia, it was just a satire.

Remembered for his martyrdom (though non of the Protestants he persecuted are remembered), Thomas More was a devout and loyal Catholic. Therefore he would never write or believe anything that the Catholic Church disagreed with. Utopia was written in Latin for priest and scholars to educate them on the dangers of renaissance thinking, not to challenge the Church’s authority.

Because the common people would not know about this book it would not hurt the Church nor endanger More. What the Catholic Church had a problem with was when you would translate a writing that they did not like into the common tongue. The Bible itself was not allowed to be spread among the common people in their native tongue, and many died trying.

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