Utopia And Leviathan

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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Thomas More'sUtopia and Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan each offer alternatives to the worlds in which they lived.. More's society, viewed through the character Hythloday, is seemingly based on man's nature in society being generally good, and the faults of man emanate from how society itself is set up. Hobbes takes the opposite view of human nature, where man's will to survive makes him unable to act out of goodness and it is man who is responsible for society's ills.

Both Leviathan and Utopia contain faults in logic that work to undermine the very possibility for these new social structures. In the following I will show how each of their views for a new society give insight into what their beliefs of human nature are, while showing some similarities between them. I will point to some of the faults found with both of their arguments that suggest an implicit and at times contradictory view of mankind.

More's Utopia is a response to the world in which he lived. The main character, Hythloday, condemns the class system and the use of money in England. Hythloday sees that the ills of modern society; those of greed, power and pride, must be overcome if man is to live peacefully with one another. In the following excerpt we see evidence of how Hythloday describes human nature in these terms and how Utopia has been able to do away with these three vices.

"Now isn't this an unjust and ungrateful commonwealth? It lavishes the rich rewards on so-called gentry, loan sharks, and the rest of the crew, who don't work at all or are mean parasites, purveyors of empty pleasures. "¦ I see in (this) nothing but a conspiracy of the rich, who are fattening up their own interests under the name and title of...