Utopia: Basic plot

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Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:34 am

As I said in class, it might be helpful to skim the text of Utopia quickly and extract the basic plotline (record the most important events that move the plot of the story). This will help us move past problems of linear comprehension, and allow us to focus on close reading. I'll start you off with the basic framework of the first passage.

1. Henry VIII sends Thomas to Flanders. He's been fighting with the Prince there, and Thomas should resolve the argument.
2. Thomas met many important people, but did not really resolve the king's fight. He went to Antwerp and made friends with Peter Giles.
3. Peter Giles introduced him to an interesting stranger, Raphael Hythloday.
4. Hythloday talks about some of his personal history. That begins as follows:

         1. Raphael Hythloday, a well-educated man from Portugal, always had the desire to travel. He joined the adventure voyages of the famous explorer, Americus Vesputius.
         2. Instead of returning home after the voyages, Raphael stayed with some other sailors at a very faraway place.
         3. They made friends with the local people, and a friendly prince gave them supplies to make a new voyage.
         4. He saw many kinds of strange lands. Many were remote and inhospitable: the people were unfriendly and the land was hard to live in.
         5. He found some new lands that had trade routes and friendly people. He shared knowledge with the local people, who respected him.
         6. He travelled to Calicut (South India) and bought some ships of his own. He finally returned home.

Please try to make similar outlines of the next passages. Post your outlines here for other students to read. It will save us time if we work together!


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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:01 am

Section 2:

1. Thomas believes that hearing Raphael's stories could suggest ways to solve problems in England, too. ("so he reckoned up not a few things, from which patterns might be taken"). Raphael continues telling stories about his travel, especially about the good and bad laws and governments.
2. Peter asks Raphael why he didn't decide to serve any king, since it can make life much easier. Raphael says that anyone who serves a king is a slave. Raphael wants to be free. He says the idea of serving a king is so terrible to him that it could never make him happy, even if it made him rich or powerful. ("Happier? ....Is that to be compassed in a way so abhorrent to my genius"?)
3. Thomas reccommends that Raphael would be a very good advisor to a king or prince, and would greatly help the people of that country.
4. Raphael argues as follows: in fact, most princes do not want peace, but war. So Raphael would not be helping the people, but helping a prince make war to satisfy his own greedy ambitions. THe prince's advisors are not usually wise people, but people who like to hear the empty flattery of other nobles. He says that people do not usually listen to good advice; instead they follow traditions. For all of these reasons, Raphael would not like to serve in the government.


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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:23 am

Section 3: study Like a Star @ heaven Cool

1. Raphael tells the story of his travels to England, just after a time of civil unrest.

2. At this time, Raphael was friends with a priest, John Morton. John was educated and skilled. He handled many affairs in the government.

3. One day Raphael and John were having dinner with friends. They talked about the death penalty. At that time, thieves were executed by hanging. One friend praised the death penalty. He wondered why there were still theives, since the death penalty should catch them all.

4. Raphael argues that the death penalty is wrong. He says it is not good for society. He says the punishment is too serious for a simple crime. He says that deperate people will always steal, even if they will be executed for it. Raphael believes that society should help people by providing for their needs. Then they would not need to steal.

5. The friend says there are plenty of working-class jobs. Raphael argues that many people cannot work, because they have been wounded in wars, and other things. He points out that there is another class of society who does no work: the rich, including nobles and landlords. These people just sit around and collect money from other peoples' work. The landlords exploit their tenants. The country also keeps a huge and expensive army, even in peacetime. Raphael maintains that it is hypocritical for society to punish an individual for stealing when so many forms of institutionalized theft exist. ("There is a great number of noblemen among you that are themselves as idle as drones, that subsist on other men’s labour.....")

6. Another problem is the way society expects people to behave. It's not possible to live a simple and happy life; one must buy fashionable clothes and indulge in various luxuries. Vices (like driking and visiting prostitutes) are a profitable industry, too. For all of these reasons, Raphael seems to suggest that when a man is driven to theft, it indicates something deeply wrong with the society he lives in. He says that society must first work on improving its governance, then the amount of theives will naturally decrease. ("What else is to be concluded from this but that you first make thieves and then punish them?")

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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:26 am

Section 4:

1. The Counsellor says Raphae just doesn't understand how their society works. He promises to explain it.

2. The Cardinal interrupts him, and says there is not enough time. (He is showing an aversion to actual, productive debate). He says he also agrees with the death penalty. He says that if cirminals are shown leniency, they will just commit more and more crimes. He asks Raphael if he has a better idea.

3. Raphael says that, first of all, a human life is worth far more than a little money. Even if a man steals, the penalty of death is too severe. He says that God has commanded them not to kill, but they kill over the trivial matter of money and property. (Remember, they are Christians/Catholics and believe in the 10 Commandments). Last, he says that if the penalty is death for both robbery and murder, men will not only steal but kill.

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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:14 am

Section 5:

1. Raphael Hythloday suggests some alternative punishments for theives. He describes the way Polylerits punish theives (Polyleris is a fictional nation in or near Persia. Today "Persia" is known as Iran).

2. In Polyleris, the thief must give back the property they have stolen. If it's impossible, they must repay the owner. If the thief has no money for payment, he must work at the service of the city for a period of time. (These are called indentured labourers). The labourers' friends and family may give them things like food, drink, and clothing - but may not give them money. The labourers are not abused, but must work and refrain from attempting to escape. If they behave well, they may become free again after a while.

3. Raphael points out that in most countries, a thief repays the prince of government (e.g., pays a "fine") instead of the owner of the property. Raphael says this is hypocrisy on the part of the State. ("Those that are found guilty of theft among them are bound to make restitution to the owner, not, as it is in other places, to the prince, for they reckon that the prince has no more right to the stolen goods than the thief")

4. The Counsellor says the punishments of repayment and indentured labour could never work in England. He is very displeased about the idea.

5. Using slightly different words, the Cardinal says the same things Raphael said. Suddenly everyone thinks it is a wonderful idea, including the Counsellor, and all the others who previously said it couldn't work. They are doing this to flatter the Cardinal becaue he is powerful. (" When the Cardinal had done, they all commended the motion, though they had despised it when it came from me...")

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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Eva Song Yihua on Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:24 am

Here is a website that I find really helpful...If i can't finish reading the whole book, I guess I can just skim the summary first... Smile
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/utopia/
UTOPIA
Sir Thomas More

←The Fool and the Friar→
Summary

Hythloday now comes to a point in his description of his dinner with Cardinal Morton that he terms "ridiculous." He says he is unsure whether this story is worth the telling, but decides to tell it anyway.


After Hythloday finishes speaking, someone comments that Hythloday has managed to create a policy dealing with criminals and vagabonds, and asks how to deal with the old and the sick, who are often reduced to begging. A man Hythloday describes as a fool who was always trying to draw laughter takes a stab at the problem. This man decrees that all male beggars would be made "lay brothers" of Benedictine monasteries, and all women be made nuns. According to Hythloday, Cardinal Morton takes this as a good joke, though others take the idea seriously. A friar responds that begging will remain as long as there are friars, referring to the fact that friars collect money for their religious order through begging. The fool wittily responds that the friars would already have been arrested as vagabonds. At this, the friar becomes incensed. He curses the fool with biblical references, and threatens him with excommunication. Cardinal Morton defuses the situation by dismissing the fool, and, soon after, the Cardinal himself goes off to bed, dismissing everyone.

Hythloday now apologizes to More and Giles for telling such a long story, but insists it was necessary to make his point. He wanted to show how the Cardinal's associates had only disdain for his views until the Cardinal himself showed interest, at which point they all became uncritical. They, in fact, became so uncritical, that they then almost accepted the advice of the fool as a serious proposal. This example, Hythloday claims, will demonstrate the lack of acceptance he will receive at the hands of courtiers.

Commentary

The meaning of the story about the fool and the friar is not obvious. Hythloday himself claims not to know why he tells the story. Eventually, he claims the story shows how men form judgments not on the merit of the proposal put before them but wholly in response to the judgments formed by the men in power. Judgments, then, are not a process of rational thought, but rather a means of currying favor. The story can be seen as an example of such judgment making, but Hythloday's previous description of the reaction to his proposals before and after Cardinal Morton displayed his approval of them was a far superior example and needed little further support.

A second interpretation, offered by David Wootton, argues that the fool provides a third alternative between the worldly More and the philosophical Hythloday. The fool, Wootton claims, represents Christian Folly, a distinct notion of Humanist thought first conceived by Erasmus in Praise of Folly. Christian Folly is the understanding that a man who acts according to the laws of Christianity, independent of his wisdom or intelligence, will be seen as acting in folly. Christian Folly claimed that Christianity did not mesh with European culture at large, no matter what those in power claimed. The fool, in this conception, is a jester, a man who pokes fun at the inconsistencies of society and yet is treated with condescension. This evocation of Christian Folly in the form of the fool is meant, according to Wootton, to remind the reader of Utopia that while the real world can never be perfect and Utopia is a figment of the imagination, the Kingdom of Heaven is real and imminent. Utopia is a book advocating social reform, but its deepest hope remains religious. Wootton's argument, though convincing in its textual analysis, can prove difficult to grasp for the simple reason that it hinges on an understanding of a Humanist body of knowledge to which most modern readers have had no exposure. To better understand the idea of Christian Folly, the best work is probably the source, Erasmus's Praise of Folly.

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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:38 am

Great resource - the "Commentary" section looks especially useful for asissting interpretation. Remember that interpretation is always biased. You might want to check one interpreter's viewpoint against that of others to get a broader perspective.

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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Hilary_Liu on Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:27 am

The summary of religions

"There are several sorts of religions, not only in different parts of the island, but even in every town; some worshipping the sun, others the moon or one of the planets. Some worship such men as have been eminent in former times for virtue or glory, not only as ordinary deities, but as the supreme god. Yet the greater and wiser sort of them worship none of these, but adore one eternal, invisible, infinite, and incomprehensible Deity; as a Being that is far above all our apprehensions, that is spread over the whole universe, not by His bulk, but by His power and virtue; Him they call the Father of All, and acknowledge that the beginnings, the increase, the progress, the vicissitudes, and the end of all things come only from Him; nor do they offer divine honours to any but to Him alone. And, indeed, though they differ concerning other things, yet all agree in this: that they think there is one Supreme Being that made and governs the world, whom they call, in the language of their country, Mithras. They differ in this: that one thinks the god whom he worships is this Supreme Being, and another thinks that his idol is that god; but they all agree in one principle, that whoever is this Supreme Being, He is also that great essence to whose glory and majesty all honours are ascribed by the consent of all nations."
Summary:
There are numbers of religions in Utopia. They worshipping different things. Although the religions that they believe are different, but they all think there is only one "god" who created the world. And they all agree in one principle that no matter who the "god" is, he is the greatest.

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Utopia Summary

Post by stephanieCH on Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:02 am

If any man has a mind to visit his friends that live in some other town, or desires to travel and see the rest of the country, he obtains leave very easily from the Syphogrant and Tranibors, when there is no particular occasion for him at home. Such as travel carry with them a passport from the Prince, which both certifies the licence that is granted for travelling, and limits the time of their return. They are furnished with a waggon and a slave, who drives the oxen and looks after them; but, unless there are women in the company, the waggon is sent back at the end of the journey as a needless encumbrance. While they are on the road they carry no provisions with them, yet they want for nothing, but are everywhere treated as if they were at home. If they stay in any place longer than a night, every one follows his proper occupation, and is very well used by those of his own trade; but if any man goes out of the city to which he belongs without leave, and is found rambling without a passport, he is severely treated, he is punished as a fugitive, and sent home disgracefully; and, if he falls again into the like fault, is condemned to slavery. If any man has a mind to travel only over the precinct of his own city, he may freely do it, with his father's permission and his wife's consent; but when he comes into any of the country houses, if he expects to be entertained by them, he must labour with them and conform to their rules; and if he does this, he may freely go over the whole precinct, being then as useful to the city to which he belongs as if he were still within it. Thus you see that there are no idle persons among them, nor pretences of excusing any from labour. There are no taverns, no alehouses, nor stews among them, nor any other occasions of corrupting each other, of getting into corners, or forming themselves into parties; all men live in full view, so that all are obliged both to perform their ordinary task and to employ themselves well in their spare hours; and it is certain that a people thus ordered must live in great abundance of all things, and these being equally distributed among them, no man can want or be obliged to beg.

The summary
If Utopians want to travel to the rest of the country, they need a passport from the Prince to allowing them to travel and to limit the time of traveling. There will be slave who can looks after them. If any man doesn't follow the rule of passport, they would punished by the government. Because of the strict punishment, there are no taverns among them.

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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Eva Song Yihua on Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:23 am

⭐OF THEIR SLAVES, AND OF THEIR MARRIAGES Like a Star @ heaven

"They do not make slaves of prisoners of war, except those that are
taken in battle, nor of the sons of their slaves, nor of those of other nations:
the slaves among them are only such as are condemned to that state of life
for the commission of some crime, or, which is more common, such as
their merchants find condemned to die in those parts to which they trade,
whom they sometimes redeem at low rates, and in other places have them
for nothing. They are kept at perpetual labour, and are always chained, but
with this difference, that their own natives are treated much worse than
others: they are considered as more profligate than the rest, and since they
could not be restrained by the advantages of so excellent an education, are
judged worthy of harder usage. Another sort of slaves are the poor of the
neighbouring countries, who offer of their own accord to come and serve
them: they treat these better, and use them in all other respects as well as
their own countrymen, except their imposing more labour upon them,
which is no hard task to those that have been accustomed to it; and if any
of these have a mind to go back to their own country, which, indeed, falls
out but seldom, as they do not force them to stay, so they do not send them
away empty-handed.
"I have already told you with what care they look after their sick, so
that nothing is left undone that can contribute either to their case or health;
and for those who are taken with fixed and incurable diseases, they use all
possible ways to cherish them and to make their lives as comfortable as
possible. They visit them often and take great pains to make their time
pass off easily; but when any is taken with a torturing and lingering pain,
so that there is no hope either of recovery or ease, the priests and
magistrates come and exhort them, that, since they are now unable to go
on with the business of life, are become a burden to themselves and to all
about them, and they have really out-lived themselves, they should no
longer nourish such a rooted distemper, but choose rather to die since they
cannot live but in much misery; being assured that if they thus deliver themselves from torture, or are willing that others should do it, they shall
be happy after death: since, by their acting thus, they lose none of the
pleasures, but only the troubles of life, they think they behave not only
reasonably but in a manner consistent with religion and piety; because
they follow the advice given them by their priests, who are the expounders
of the will of God. Such as are wrought on by these persuasions either
starve themselves of their own accord, or take opium, and by that means
die without pain. But no man is forced on this way of ending his life; and
if they cannot be persuaded to it, this does not induce them to fail in their
attendance and care of them: but as they believe that a voluntary death,
when it is chosen upon such an authority, is very honourable, so if any
man takes away his own life without the approbation of the priests and the
senate, they give him none of the honours of a decent funeral, but throw
his body into a ditch.
"Their women are not married before eighteen nor their men before
two-and-twenty, and if any of them run into forbidden embraces before
marriage they are severely punished, and the privilege of marriage is
denied them unless they can obtain a special warrant from the Prince.
Such disorders cast a great reproach upon the master and mistress of the
family in which they happen, for it is supposed that they have failed in
their duty. The reason of punishing this so severely is, because they think
that if they were not strictly restrained from all vagrant appetites, very few
would engage in a state in which they venture the quiet of their whole
lives, by being confined to one person, and are obliged to endure all the
inconveniences with which it is accompanied. In choosing their wives they
use a method that would appear to us very absurd and ridiculous, but it is
constantly observed among them, and is accounted perfectly consistent
with wisdom. Before marriage some grave matron presents the bride,
naked, whether she is a virgin or a widow, to the bridegroom, and after
that some grave man presents the bridegroom, naked, to the bride. We,
indeed, both laughed at this, and condemned it as very indecent. But they,
on the other hand, wondered at the folly of the men of all other nations,
who, if they are but to buy a horse of a small value, are so cautious that
they will see every part of him, and take off both his saddle and all his other tackle, that there may be no secret ulcer hid under any of them, and
that yet in the choice of a wife, on which depends the happiness or
unhappiness of the rest of his life, a man should venture upon trust, and
only see about a handsbreadth of the face, all the rest of the body being
covered, under which may lie hid what may be contagious as well as
loathsome. All men are not so wise as to choose a woman only for her
good qualities, and even wise men consider the body as that which adds
not a little to the mind, and it is certain there may be some such deformity
covered with clothes as may totally alienate a man from his wife, when it
is too late to part with her; if such a thing is discovered after marriage a
man has no remedy but patience; they, therefore, think it is reasonable that
there should be good provision made against such mischievous frauds.
Arrow cyclops There are slaves in Utopia, and they are always chained and treated harshly. One the other hand, people from other countries can be come slaves by their own will and they can return home as they wish. When Utopians suffer from illness and cannot recover, they can choose to die voluntarily since they are a burden to the society. Utopians cannot get married before certain age, and before marriage they will meet each other nakedly so that they know exactly what they will face in their future marriage. If a person in marriage cheated, they are punished to be slaves. Slaves in Utopia can recover to citizen if they do their work well and patiently. Idea

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Re: Utopia: Basic plot

Post by Eva Song Yihua on Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:58 am

Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation This is from Ian, and he is having some troubles signing up this forum:shock:
Agriculture is that which is so universally understood among them that no person, either man or woman, is ignorant of it; they are instructed in it from their childhood, partly by what they learn at school, and partly by practice, they being led out often into the fields about the town, where they not only see others at work but are likewise exercised in it themselves. Besides agriculture, which is so common to them all, every man has some peculiar trade to which he applies himself; such as the manufacture of wool or flax, masonry, smith's work, or carpenter's work; for there is no sort of trade that is in great esteem among them. Throughout the island they wear the same sort of clothes, without any other distinction except what is necessary to distinguish the two sexes and the married and unmarried. The fashion never alters, and as it is neither disagreeable nor uneasy, so it is suited to the climate, and calculated both for their summers and winters. Every family makes their own clothes; but all among them, women as well as men, learn one or other of the trades formerly mentioned. Women, for the most part, deal in wool and flax, which suit best with their weakness, leaving the ruder trades to the men. The same trade generally passes down from father to son, inclinations often following descent: but if any man's genius lies another way he is, by adoption, translated into a family that deals in the trade to which he is inclined; and when that is to be done, care is taken, not only by his father, but by the magistrate, that he may be put to a discreet and good man: and if, after a person has learned one trade, he desires to acquire another, that is also allowed, and is managed in the same manner as the former. When he has learned both, he follows that which he likes best, unless the public has more occasion for the other.

Arrow All of them are paying a lot of attention on agriculture; they learn and practice it when they were very young. Except for agriculture, each one of them also has some special trade like making wool or flax. Men and women are all wearing the same clothes and each family make their own clothes. The same trades normally pass on through generation. If a man want to change into another trade, he need to translate into a family with them same trade he interested in. Idea

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