Utopia Case

Published: 2021-06-29 07:04:46
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Thomas More was born in 1478 to an affluent family. He was one of Henry VIII's most trusted diplomats, and was part of the Humanist movement; which was formed on the belief that the individual was important in all aspects of life. Their main goal as a movement was to reform the English into liberal thinkers once again, and turned them into contributors to society. Most of the first Humanists were orators and poets, who moved on to become diplomats. Thomas More was the author of Utopia, a literary work describing the "ideal, perfect" society. His refusal to support and recognize both Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn, and the Act of Supremacy, were contributing factors to his beheading in 1535.
The English Reformation started mainly because of the revival of Humanism. Other factors were Henry VIII's unstable domestic life. Henry VIII believed that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was doomed from the start because he married his late brother's wife. The marriage had not produced a male heir, and the children Catherine bore were either still birthed or miscarried before she could deliver. He annulled the marriage to her and remarried to Anne Boleyn, after passing the Act of Succession. Henry had to make sure that Boleyn's children had legal claims to the throne. Henry VIII became head of the Catholic Church, which is where the disagreement occurred between him and More. More refused to acknowledge him as head of the Church. More's role in the reformation was one of a martyr. He refused to swear the oath to Henry VIII, therefore betraying the throne and the church. This was punishable by death.
Book I is the prelude to the actual island of Utopia. More took a trip to the city of Flanders. When he reached the city he met Raphael Hythloday, a Portuguese traveler, who while travelling with Amerigo Vespucci, befriended the natives in the New World. The Northern part of the land was not colonized and was full of wild life. The Southern part of the land was colonized. There were cities and humans that inhabited them. Here, Giles suggested that Hythloday becomes an advisor to a King. "I wonder, Raphael, how it comes that you enter into no King's service...you would not only entertain them very pleasantly, but be of great use to them... " (More 4). Hythloday declined the suggestion because he values his freedom and doesn't want part in the politics that comes along with the job.

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