Thomas More’s Utopia: Risk of Persecution?

Thomas More’s Utopia was a satire on the idea of a perfect society. Thomas More did not risk facing persecution bay the Church for this book because it was quite obviously not meant to be taken as a serious political commentary. The very word Utopia was coined from Greek by Thomas More and means “no place”. The name of the main character who vouched for Utopia’s political organization means “talking nonsense” in Greek. There can be little doubt from reading Utopia that it was intended to be a satire. More presents solutions to social problems that clearly go against human nature. The religion of Utopia is quite at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church, to which More ardently adhered (to the point of his own execution). It was written in Latin, and therefore was intended for the educated, and not the common audience. If Thomas More was trying to preach social and political reform to the people and spark a movement, then he would have written in the vernacular. For these reasons Utopia can be taken as satire, and therefore Thomas More was not in danger of getting in trouble with the Church.

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