The Roots of Happiness

1549 Words7 Pages
Early Modern Europe experienced several tragedies in which the citizens sensed that there must be a better way to live where happiness was more familiar. Alterations for what truly defines absolute happiness in a society during these times of catastrophe were expressed through utopian literature. Thomas More’s Utopia, Tomasso Campanella’s City of the Sun, and Caron De Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro together attempt to answer what truly creates a happy civilization during different periods of crisis within Europe. Each of these utopian literature’s suggest a different origin that happiness derives from, soundly signifying that change in Europe would be beneficial. The revolutionary ideas of change in Europe proposed by Utopia, City of the Sun, and The Marriage of Figaro through their individual utopias, demonstrated their beliefs that such change of social classes, the expression of pleasures morally, and a more unified government would lead to a happier, less corrupt society.

During the early sixteenth century there was a myth that education and learning through the “true” Christian message would bring back the ancient church and inspire solutions to social and political problems; the prime example being Utopia by Thomas More. Utopia encouraged happiness by fundamentally living a morally correct life. According to Utopia the removal of private property played key importance to living ethically because with common property, there is no greed. Furthermore, the abolishment of private property also meant there would be no means of commerce which would also apply to the removal of greed. Hythloday expresses his distaste of private property when saying, “But so long as it shall continue, so long shall remain among the most and b...

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...riting ability of the contributing authors appropriately showed the audience in Europe that with their suggested root of happiness, change would be inevitable for a better, happier life. The revolutionary ideas for the stepping stones of happiness: moral pleasure, unified government, and equal social classes showed that the people of Europe were not happy. They wanted to adjust the way they lived and find the roots of happiness.

Works Cited

Beaumarchais, Caron De, and John Wood. The Marriage of Figaro. The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro. London: Penguin, 1964. 106-217. Print.

Campanella, Tommaso. The City of the Sun. The New Atlantis & The City of the Sun: Two Classic Utopias. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003. 43-85. Print.

More, Thomas, Ralph Robinson, and David Harris Sacks. Utopia. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999. Print.

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