Thomas More was born in 1478 at a time when England was in transition between Feudalism and the early Renaissance. More was a lawyer, a historian, a philosopher and became Henry VIII's chancellor in 1529. When Thomas More refused to convert himself to Protestantism, he was accused of being a traitor and executed in 1535. More was a very learned man as well as a humanist who rediscovered ancient texts such as Plato's Republic, which highly influenced him for the writing of Utopia in 1516. In his work, Thomas More opposes the Society of his time to that of a wonderful and imaginary one: the ideal society of Utopia. The title comes from the Greek ou topos that means "no where", which is not a coincidence and reflects More's idea that such a society is impossible to set up. Thomas More's Utopia is divided into two books: in book one; he indirectly criticizes the English society under the Tudor Dynasty and the settlement of the enclosures system which starved peasantry and has therefore dramatic social consequences. Book two contrasts from book one, in the sense that it describes the Utopian society as an egalitarian one based on common property.
[...] In Thomas More's Utopia, the ideal town of Amaurot is: ] surrounded by a thick, high wall, with many towers and bastions. On three sides it is also surrounded by a dry ditch broad and deep and filled with thorn hedges.” (on page 34, paragraph 2). We could say that the circular walls which surround the town are like the maternal womb which is the symbol of protection. On the other hand, the symbol of square is also important. Indeed this shape is the representation of the earth and conveys the idea of stability within perfection (that is to say, the circle) which explains More's choice to make Amaurot a square city within rounded walls as if to picture a stable society inside a perfect city. [...]
[...] The map of Amaurot, capital city of Utopia, is the symbolism of the desire of rationality: In Utopia, nothing is chaotic since urbanism and architecture are supposed to mirror the perfection of its society. Indeed rounded and square shapes are the ideal geometrical forms which make and surround the perfect city. A city built according to geometrical features The geometric organization of space is not pointless. The rationality of urbanism will contribute to frame the organization of the population's life style. [...]
[...] In dystopias urbanism and architecture do not represent harmony but rather reflect a dehumanized world of dictatorship and totalitarianism. Even though the description of More's Utopian society may convey the feeling that the utopians were not since they lived in cities which forbade privacy, people ate them fill. This is the point made by More, who lived in a society where most people did not have enough to eat. Conclusion In conclusion, we can say that the utopia is the conception of an ideal society within a perfect architecture where human relationships are mechanically and harmoniously planned. [...]
[...] Moreover there are dormitories which look all the same reminding us of Thomas More's description of the towns of Utopia. Life in these monasteries also matches that of the utopians. As St Benedict highlighted it in his Monastic rules, the monks set an example of communal life and of strict discipline. In Utopia, there is no individualism. Private property does not exist, money neither and this is reflected through, for example, the fact that the houses have no lock: “Every house has a door to the street and another one to the garden. [...]
[...] I/Utopia as a highly symbolic island In order to describe the island of Utopia More uses a geometrical method. He starts by giving a general description and becomes more and more precise. The Island is firstly mentioned as a circular one and then we learn that it is not exactly circular but a crescent shaped one. 1/A crescent-shaped island The shape of the island chosen by More is not a coincidence. As we know, during the Renaissance, astrology was one of the most important themes. [...]
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