Sir Thomas More was born on 7 February 1478 . He was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councellor to Henry VIII of England and Lord Chancellor from October 1529 to May 1532. He died on 6 July 1535. Thomas More became one of the most interesting and influential figures of the early Renaissance. More’s most important work was his ‘Utopia,’ published in 1516. Utopia portrays a vivid picture of the terrible evils which England was suffering through war, lawlessness, the foolish application of the death penalty, the misery of the peasants, the absorption of the land by the rich, and the other distressing corruptions in Church and State.
Renaissance” literally means “rebirth.” It refers especially to the rebirth of learning that began in Italy in the fourteenth century, spread to the north, including England, by the sixteenth century, and ended in the north in the mid-seventeenth century. It was also an age of new discoveries, both geographical (exploration of the New World) and intellectual. The following renaissance traits are prominent in More’s Utopia: LOVE FOR CLASSICAL LEARNING: During the Reanaissance period, there was an enormous renewal of interest in and study of classical learning.More in his work ‘utopia’ has given lot of classical references like of Seneca,Cicero.While criticizing follies and corruption prevailing in people working for government,He has made reference to plato “This is why plato in a very fine comparison declares that wise men are right in keeping clear of government matters”. HUMANISM: It is a system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values. During Reanaissance era, Shallow ideas about human nature and man’s place in a society melted away. More was a humanist. In more’s utopia emphasis has been put on human welfare. Raphael Hythloday has given suggestions for improving condition of people of England.He says “Nothing in the world that fortune can bestow is equal in value to a man’s life”.More’s Utopia has an humanistic approach. REFORMATION: Religious movement known as the Reformation became a more far-reaching influence, both on literary creation and on modern life in general.This renaissance trait is most prominent in Thoams more’s Utopia. The main aim of the work Utopia was to reform the society.
More has realistically depicted the condition of England of that time and has provided the solutions to improve it. CHANGE IN APPROACH:The period of Renaissance is also characterized by change in approach. The approach during this period was changed from theocentric to homocentric. Thomas More in his work Utopia has talked about life of this earth. He has realistically depicted the condition of England and its people. PATRIOTISM: Patriotism is also an important feature of Renaissance. We can observe the renaissance trait at various places in More’s Utopia. The narrator of Utopia,Raphael Hythloday believes Private Property to be at the root of all society’s ills, he reasons, “that as long as there is any property, and while money is the standard of all other things, I cannot think that a nation can be governed either justly or happily “This shows his concern for his country. INDIVIDUALISM: it is a social theory advocating the liberty, rights, and independent action of the individual. In Utopia Raphael argues that punshing thieves with cruelty goes beyond the call of justice , and is not in any case, for the public good.and also when thieves are sentenced to hard labor they should be allowed to have their freedom and shouldn’t be given harsh treatment unless they try to escape. THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE: The most noted feature of the Renaissance era was the Revival of Learning, an awakening of mind and a thirst for the new knowledge. This resulted in a widespread study of art and literature and in a broadening of outlook to a degree never before known. In More’s Utopia also this trait is well observed. In Utopia, we observe Thomas more was always keen to get information about other places and people and we come to know this through the statement of peter giles “for there is no man alive today can tell you so much about uknown peoples and lands;and I know that you’re always greedy for such information.” Through out the utopia, the willingness to learn has been considered as an important reason for a happy life. All these Renaissance traits can be well observed in Thomas More’s Utopia. Utopia, broaz dly conceived, is an image of a world not yet in existence,that is different from and far better than the world we inhabit now.