by: Sir Thomas More

Suggested Essay Topics

There are many aspects of Utopian life and policy that More describes as absurd. There are some, even, that Hythloday sees as absurd. Discuss the meaning of the absurd in Utopia. Are absurd practices always absurd in the same way? Are some absurd practices simply absurd while others betray deeper significance? Is the sometimes absurdity of Utopia meant to imply that Utopia is ideal or less than ideal? How do the absurdities of Utopia play into Erasmus's notion of Christian Folly? Identify the moments of absurdity in Utopia and analyze them separately and in contrast.

Unlike Plato's Republic,Utopia is not presented to the reader as a blueprint for an ideal state. It is presented as a fiction rather than as a possibility. How does the fictional frame change the way a reader understands the book? How does the fictional frame in Utopia function? What are the consequences of making Utopia fictional? How does it offer protection to Thomas More the author?

Discuss the ways in which the ideal Utopian society resembles some dystopian societies, such as those in ##Brave New World## and ##1984##. What are the differences between Utopia and these dystopias? Consider the different times in which Utopia and the worlds of Brave New World and 1984 were conceived. How do the conceptions and beliefs of a particular time affect their understanding of what is ideal?

Discuss the relationship between the two books of Utopia. Is there a seamless argument between the two, or do Thomas More's sense of things change? Utopia has often been described as a society based entirely on Humanist thought. Does Thomas More stray from Humanism? Are there tensions evident in the text between the humanist Utopia and the commentary in Book 1? Hythloday himself might be described as a Humanist. Is Thomas More in perfect agreement with Hythloday?