Thomas More’s Utopia and Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan each offer options to the universes in which they lived. . More’s society. viewed through the character Hythloday. is apparently based on man’s nature in society being by and large good. and the mistakes of adult male emanate from how society itself is set up. Hobbes takes the opposite position of human nature. where man’s will to last makes him unable to move out of goodness and it is adult male who is responsible for society’s ailments.

Both Leviathan and Utopia contain mistakes in logic that work to sabotage the really possibility for these new societal constructions. In the undermentioned I will demo how each of their positions for a new society give penetration into what their beliefs of human nature are. while demoing some similarities between them. I will indicate to some of the mistakes found with both of their statements that suggest an implicit and at times contradictory position of world.

More’s Utopia is a response to the universe in which he lived. The chief character. Hythloday. reprobate the category system and the usage of money in England. Hythloday sees that the ailments of modern society ; those of greed. power and pride. must be overcome if adult male is to populate peacefully with one another. In the undermentioned extract we see grounds of how Hythloday describes human nature in these footings and how Utopia has been able to make away with these three frailties.

“Now isn’t this an unfair and thankless commonwealth? It lavishes the rich wagess on alleged aristocracy. loan sharks. and the remainder of the crew. who don’t work at all or are average parasites. purveyors of empty pleasances. “¦ I see in ( this ) nil but a confederacy of the rich. who are flesh outing up their ain involvements under the name and rubric of the commonwealth. “¦ How far they remain from the felicity of the Utopian Republic. which has abolished non merely money but with it greed! “¦ Everyone knows that if money were abolished “¦ a whole set of offenses which are avenged but non prevented by the hangman would at one time die out.

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If money disappeared so would fear. anxiousness. concern. labor and insomniac darks. Even poverty “¦ would disappear if money were wholly done away with. ” ( p. 521-523 ) Hythloday goes on to state that pride causes adult male to be avaricious and seek power. For Hythloday “Pride measures her advantages non by what she has but by what other people lack. ” ( p. 522 ) In a universe with societal categories where one adult male is said to be of higher position than another adult male is by nature traveling to work one another and ever be endeavoring for more power.

More imagines a society in which greed. power and pride no longer exists. By taking away the category system and the usage of money he felt that all the ailments of world would vanish. This position of human nature is that some work forces. those in power. are basically evil and selfish. If a society could be built where no adult male was greater than another so all could populate together in harmoniousness and genuinely be a portion of a commonwealth where “no work forces are hapless. no work forces are mendicants. and though no adult male owns anything. everyone is rich. ” ( p. 520 ) More’s Utopia offers an option to the blue society in which he lived. More would hold us make away with societal categories and have adult male work together towards the common end of peace and endurance. An extract from Book II where Utopus the laminitis of Utopia is constructing a channel gives acceptance to this thought.

“He ( Utopus ) put non merely the indigens to work at this undertaking. but his ain soldiers excessively. so that the vanquished would non believe the labour a shame. With the work divided among so many custodies. the undertaking was finished rapidly. and the adjacent peoples. who at first had laughed at his folly. were struck with admiration and panic at his success. ” This transition is proof that adult male can work together and accomplish illustriousness by making so. It appears here that More has a high appraisal of man’s abilities. Utopia is based on the thought that all work forces are equal. No adult male owns anything and there is no private concern. All work forces work for the good of the province.

This communist society looks really classless at first. but the rigorous regulations in which the Utopians must stay by give manner to another type of power construction where work forces are non needfully equal to each other. Close review of these regulations give penetration into how More may hold truly viewed human nature. In the undermentioned extracts we find grounds that More may hold found adult male untrusty and in demand of societal control. or at the really least religious control.

“The huge bulk of Utopians “¦ believe in a individual power. unknown. ageless. space. incomprehensible. far beyond the appreciation of the human head. and diffused throughout the existence. non physically but in influence. Him they call father. and to him entirely they attribute the beginning. addition. advancement. alteration. and terminal of all seeable things ; they do non offer godly awards to any other. “¦ ( Utopus ) left the whole affair ( taking a faith ) open. leting each individual to take what he would believe.

The lone exclusion was a positive and rigorous jurisprudence against anyone who would drop so far below the self-respect of human nature as to believe that the psyche perishes with the organic structure. or that the existence is ruled by unsighted opportunity. non godly Providence. “¦ Therefore a adult male who holds such positions is offered no awards. entrusted with no offices. and given no public duty. he is universally regarded as a low and seamy fellow” ( pp. 516-518 This extract shows the ambivalency that More has about human nature. He sees adult male as basically good but whenever an person has thoughts of their ain they are regarded as inferior. This creates another type of category system where adult male can judge himself against others and creates the pride that More is apparently seeking to acquire off from.

This is but one illustration of many where the rigorous regulations of Utopia work against More’s chief statement that adult male can work together in harmoniousness. Man’s goodness is accepted as fact merely in so far as it works to function the whole of the community. For those who do non stay by the rigorous Torahs. they are punished through bondage or ostracism.

More walks a thin line between sing man’s nature as basically good and seeing adult male as selfish and in demand of control. Utopia’s foundations of equality are contradicted by the rigorous Torahs they have every bit good as by the political system where caputs of folks are elected for life. This ambiguity of More’s position is furthered when More appears as a character in Utopia and alludes to his ain sentiment of Utopia.

“”¦ my main expostulation was to the footing of their whole system. that is. their communal life and their moneyless economic system. This one thing entirely utterly subverts all the aristocracy. impressiveness. luster. and majesty which ( in the popular position ) are the true decorations and glorification if any commonwealth. “¦ yet I freely confess that in the Utopian commonwealth there are many characteristics that in our ain societies I would wish instead than anticipate to see. ” ( p. 523 ) This extract shows that More is evidently protecting himself from any reproach by the Aristocracy. Besides found in this nevertheless. is More’s inability to believe such a society could of all time exists. He wishes but does non anticipate to see these characteristics of Utopia coming to his society. I believe underlying this vacillation is More’s uncertainty that human nature is capable of working together in harmoniousness.

The fact that Utopia is presented in a fantasy-like land where work forces are the mother’s to biddies and gold is used to do bedpans gives farther grounds that More himself does non believe such a society could of all time be Hobbes offers a scientific statement for the nature of adult male. He believes his enquiry into what motivates adult male is proof for his vision of society. Hobbes concludes that adult male is at war with one another because everyone is contending for endurance. He tells us the lone manner for adult male to work together is out of fright. To provide this fright world needs an all-powerful swayer who can command man’s urges to ache one another. In the followers we see how Hobbes comes to his decisions about man’s apparently built-in immorality.

“Nature hath made work forces so equal in modules of organic structure and head as that. though at that place be found one adult male sometimes obviously stronger in organic structure or of quicker head than another. yet when all is reckoned together. the difference between adult male and adult male is non so considerable as that one adult male can thereupon claim to himself any benefit. to which another may non feign every bit good as he”¦ . For such is the nature of work forces. that howsoever they may admit many others to be more witty. or more facile. or more learned. Yet they will barely believe at that place be many so wise as themselves ; for they see their ain humor at manus. and other men’s at a distance. “

From this equality of ability ariseth equality of hope in attaining of our terminals. And hence if any two work forces desire the same thing. which however they can’t both enjoy. they become enemies. and in the manner to their terminal ( which is chiefly their ain preservation. and sometimes. their delight merely ) enterprise to destruct or repress one another. ” ( p. 1590 ) This transition takes us through Hobbes’ believing about world. He tells us that all work forces are basically equal but each single believes himself to be of greater importance than one another. An individual’s demand for self saving makes him fight with others for endurance and in some instances personal pleasance. Mankind’s nature and demand to last cause him to thirst for power. Hobbes’ hope was for world to populate together in peace at any cost. Hobbe’s furthers his statement for a new society in the undermentioned extract.

“In such status ( changeless war ) there is no topographic point for industry. for the fruit thereof is unsure. and cosequently no civilization of the Earth ; no pilotage. Not ise of the trade goods that may be imported by sea ; no convenient edifice ; no instruments of traveling. and taking. such things that require much force ; no cognition of the face of the Earth ; no history of clip ; no humanistic disciplines ; no letters ; no society ; and. which is worst of all. continual fright. And danger of violent decease ; and the life of adult male. lone. hapless. awful. brutish. and short. ” ( Pp. 1589-1590 )

This point of view for adult male offers small hope the communal life we have seen in More’s Utopia. Hobbes usage of political scientific discipline allows small room for the imaginativeness and speculation used by More. Hobbes statement is founded on generalisations of mankind’s behaviour. no uncertainty arrived at due to the clip ( civil war ) in which he lived. Hobbes position of world is greater in pessimism than More in that he offers one definition for human nature. and for his statement to keep true this definition ( that adult male is basically selfish and willing to make anything to last ) is absolute. there is no room for the ambivalency and ambiguity found in More’s position.

The solution for Hobbes is that world need to populate in awe or fright of person greater than himself. Without something to keep adult male he would travel on murdering and be everlastingly in hunt of more power. In order to protect and support life. adult male must come together under an all-powerful swayer who mankind gives sovereignty to.

The similarity between Utopia and Leviathan are found in this giving up of single power for the good of the many. For More. adult male would give up pride. greed and power by populating for the good of the whole. Hobbes takes a more animalistic position of adult male where the lone manner to work together requires
life in fright of penalty by a greater power.

Both seek a commonwealth and both have a higher power to which adult male must reply. More’s higher power is the rigorous system of regulations the Utopian’s unrecorded by. and a given that most work forces believe in a deity who lends further control to their actions. Hobbes does non believe that adult male is capable of staying by a religious power and needs an existent individual to command the power of world.

Each of their histories are limited by their attack to their statements. More’s need to delight the nobility weakens his thought that adult male can work together. Hobbes’ usage of a scientific statement uses generalisations of man’s nature as cogent evidence for his foundation. these generalisations being excessively pessimistic to be taken at his word.

In the terminal both Hobbes and More offer little in the manner of hope for world as persons. Human nature seems to be inherently evil and in demand of something or person to command it. Both agree that adult male must give up what makes each of us different in order to populate in harmoniousness.


Abrams. M. H. ( Ed. ) . ( 2000 ) . The Norton Anthology of English Literature. The sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century. ( 7th ed. ) . New York: W. W. Norton & A ; Company Hobbes. Thomas ( 1651 ) . Leviathan. London: Penguin Books


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