Was More risking persecution by the church because of Utopia?

In his work Utopia, Sir Thomas More wrote about a mythical island which had a near-perfect society. In Utopia, the government holds all things in common and there is no private property. Everyone has to work, but due to Utopia’s productivity the total work day is only six hours. The cities of Utopia do not fight each other, and they even give surpluses to each other. Utopia embraces religious toleration for all people, but generally hold a religious position similar to that advocated by Renaissance humanists. The people of Utopia are kind, submissive, humble, industrious, and are without greed.

Many people believe that More wrote Utopia as a satire, not as a description of what he thought government should be like. The message seems to be that human pride gets in the way of having a perfect society, and thus Utopia, which literally means “no place” in Greek, is impossible.


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