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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
There are two settings in the novel. Book One is set in the Netherlands where Raphael Hythloday, Peter Giles, and Thomas More are discussing the travels of Hythloday in the New World as well as English customs and laws. Book Two moves to the imaginary island of Utopia, said to exist somewhere between India and Brazil. Utopia is a crescent-shaped island, broad in the middle and narrow at the ends. The sea runs between its horns. The island is described as having many cities, hills and rivers. Amaurot is the capital and the River Anyder runs through it. A number of bridges span the river. This island houses the perfect society that has impressed Raphael Hythloday, the mariner, very much.
Raphael Hythloday - the well-traveled mariner. In appearance, Hythloday is an elderly man with a sunburned face and a long beard. His dress is simple. Hythloday is more than a mere adventurer. He is a learned man, well versed in Greek and Latin, who has given away his inheritance to his family so that he can lead a life of adventure with a free conscience. Hythloday has accompanied Amerigo Vespucci, the famous explorer, on his travels. The mariner is knowledgeable of politics and a keen observer of social conditions around him. He is able to compare conditions in Europe to that of a land he spent five years in called Utopia. In the book he is partly More's persona and partly his antagonist.
Sir Thomas More - a scholar, statesman, saint. Every aspect of More's multifaceted personality surfaces in the book. More, the envoy of King Henry VIII of England, meets Hythloday in Antwerp and, together with Peter Giles, the learned Dutch attorney, he listens to Hythloday's account of the ideal social conditions in Utopia.
Peter Giles - A rising young attorney and a citizen of Antwerp. He is the third man involved in the discussion between Thomas More and Raphael Hythloday. Although he is young, he lends the debate an air of worldly elegance and wisdom.