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English 3 Lesson 10: Why does More present the traveler as a sensible reformer early in Book I, but not later?

The book Utopia was written by a man by the name of Thomas More. More was displaying himself as this character, Raphael Hythloday. Raphael plays a role as this world traveler who started his journey by returning to Europe after his 5 year stay in Utopia to tell everyone about how great and perfect the place is. Raphael is pretty much neutral figure in the book. As soon as he comes back from Utopia he immediately sees certain things that aren’t right and unbalanced. One of the first things he notices is that thieves are running around stealing and as punishment they get executed. He says that this is wrong and starts telling the people his views on this matter and his reasoning behind the argument.

He also states that he disagrees with standing armies, hates nobles for their luxurious life, and wants the government to get rid of taverns, dice, gambling, and make idle people work. He also hates the free market, and wants the government to hold all property in common. He blames all of the evils of society on private property, and says that they need incentives, and that if the government created communism like order, then people would not want to work.

Raphael states that all attempts at reform are useless unless private property is abolished. He refuses to advise kings, saying that it will be hopeless. Raphael says that he agrees with Plato, who held very different views than Aristotle on Politics. Plato wanted society to be controlled by philosopher kings who centralized society, while Aristotle doubted that this would work. At first, Raphael seems like someone who is a reformer who wants to change the world, and then says that any such reform is impossible.

He helps his arguments and reasonings by telling everyone what Utopia is like. It’s a place isolated separately from other cities. Nearest city to Utopia is the only one that would know about its existence and even the city would know only certain little details about Utopia because of how isolated it is. He also says that in Utopia everyone works in all occupations. In other words, there is no division of labor. Everyone learns agriculture, and they work only 6 hours a day. Also, the magistrates know exactly how much to produce for the needs of the people. All surpluses are shared with other cities. Raphael says that in Utopia, cities don’t make war with each other. Utopia is described as a place where everyone is diligent and no one is greedy, because they don’t even used money, for they have no use of it. No money no problem, for there’s no reason to be greedy then.

Closer to the topic; Why does More present the traveler as a sensible reformer early in Book I, but not later? He did this, because the story starts whenever Raphael returns to Europe and starts mentioning his views on the society. Later in the story the writing becomes unclear and hard to understand, because the author wasn’t clear enough to explain his reasoning, making this a satire later in the book. Here’s another thing: Hythloday actually means “Speaker of nonsense”.

Thanks for stopping by to read this essay. I’ll be posting more soon and have a great rest of your day!

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