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Questions on Thomas More


Questions on Thomas More s Utopia Mr. Cleon M. McLean Department of English Ontario High School BOOK ONE – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Questions on Thomas More

Questions on Thomas Mores Utopia
  • Mr. Cleon M. McLean
  • Department of English
  • Ontario High School

"More Meets a Returned Traveler"
  • 1. How does the preliminary information provided
    by Peter Giles establish a reader's expectation
    about the way to take Raphael Hythloday's
  • 2. What is Raphael's view of the court, and of
    participation in its affairs? In what sense are
    his statements, in part, a justification of
    Thomas More's purpose in offering his readers the
    book Utopia?

"The Geography of Utopia"
  • 3. How did Utopus found his kingdom? Why do you
    suppose he preferred his people to be island
    dwellers rather than mainlanders?
  • 4. How does the development of Utopia's urban
    areas differ from the way cities develop in the
    real world? What implied criticism is More making
    of town life and growth in his day?
  • 5. How does the society Raphael describes amount
    to something like "communism," at least in a
    pre-Marxian (i.e. pre-technological) sense?

"Their Gold and Silver"
  • 6. Raphael says that the Utopians, unlike
    Europeans, make utility rather than scarcity the
    basis of their economic system. What does he
    suggest lies at the root of systems that
    privilege scarcity as an index of value? How does
    the anecdote/little story about the pompous
    Anemolian ambassador help him illustrate his
  • 7. What is the use of such criticisms of what we
    would now call "market economics," given that the
    principles of scarcity and competition were
    already rather deeply entrenched even in More's

"Marriage Customs
  • 8. Observe Raphael's comments about the Utopian
    view of a successful marriage. What value do the
    Utopians place on marriage? How, that is, does
    the institution serve the people and the State?
  • 9. What is the contrast between Utopian marriage
    customs and European ones in More's time? Do we
    moderns have something in common with the
    Utopians when it comes to relations before

  • 10. How does Raphael say he first represented
    Christian doctrine to the Utopians? What effect
    did his presentation have?
  • 11. What is the status of religion in Utopia? Is
    religion closely connected to the State, or is it
    independent? How might Utopian customs imply
    criticism of European religious practices?
  • 12. What view of human nature emerges from the
    Utopians' handling of religious beliefs? To what
    extent do they favor reason as the basis of
    religion--that is, what is the balance or
    relationship between intellect and emotion in

  • 13. Raphael frankly condemns the money-based
    economy of Western Europe, based on his favorable
    experience with Utopia's practices. To what
    extent do his criticisms ring true? What points
    of his do you agree with and disagree with? Why?
  • 14. After Raphael has finished his story, the
    narrator "More" (not to be simply identified with
    Thomas More the real-life author) weighs in with
    his view of what he has heard. What is the basis
    of his (silent) defense of Europe's nascent
    market economics? What does he say disparity in
    the distribution of wealth makes possible? Does
    he make a strong defense, or a flawed one?
  • 15. The narrator "More" admits to being dubious
    about the prospects for actually achieving the
    reforms suggested by Raphael's his admiring
    presentation of Utopian customs. What, then, is
    the point of writing a story that compares a
    non-existent society with real ones? If the point
    isn't necessarily to change the real societies,
    what is it? What danger lies in not constructing
    Utopias and making the kinds of comparisons More