Utopia is largely based on Plato's Republic. It is a perfect version of Republic wherein the beauties of society reign (e.g.: equality and a general pacifist attitude), although its citizens are all ready to fight if need be. The evils of society, e.g.: poverty and misery, are all removed. It has few laws, no lawyers and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries from among its war-prone neighbors (these mercenaries were deliberately sent into dangerous situations in the hope that the more warlike populations of all surrounding countries will be weeded out, leaving peaceful peoples). The society encourages tolerance of all religions. Some readers, including utopian socialists, have chosen to accept this imaginary society as the realistic blueprint for a working nation, while others have postulated that More intended nothing of the sort. Some[who?] maintain the position that More's Utopia functions only on the level of a satire, a work intended to reveal more about the England of his time than about an idealistic society. This interpretation is bolstered by the title of the book and nation, and its apparent confusion between the Greek for "no place" and "good place": "utopia" is a compound of the syllable ou-, meaning "no", and topos, meaning place. But the homophonic prefix eu-, meaning "good," also resonates in the word, with the implication that the perfectly "good place" is really "no place."
About the Author
Sir Thomas More, 1478–1535
Historical and political writer, son of Sir John M., a Justice of the King’s Bench, was born in London. In his 16th year he was placed in the household of Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was wont to say, “This child here waiting at the table ... will prove a marvellous man.” In 1497 he went to Oxford, where he became the friend of Erasmus and others, and came in contact with the new learning. He studied law at New Inn and Lincoln’s Inn, and for some time thought of entering the Church. He was, however, in 1504 sent up to Parliament, where his powerful speaking gained for him a high place. Meanwhile, he had brilliant success in the Law Courts, and was introduced by Wolsey to Henry VIII., with whom he soon rose into high favour. He became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Speaker of the House of Commons, 1523, and was sent on missions to Charles V. and Francis I. At length, on the fall of Wolsey, M. was, much against his will, appointed Lord Chancellor, an office which he filled with singular purity and success, though he was harsh in his dealings with persons accused of heresy. But differences with the King soon arose. M. disapproved of Henry’s ecclesiastical policy, as well as of his proceedings in regard to the Queen, and in 1532 he resigned his office. In 1534 he refused the oath which pledged him to approval of the King’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, and for this he was imprisoned in the Tower, and on July 7, 1535, beheaded. His body was buried in St. Peter’s in the Tower, and his head exhibited on London Bridge, whence it was taken down and preserved by his daughter, the noble Margaret Roper.