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Sir Thomas More Utopia & Richard Iii Notes

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RICHARD THE III

More wrote English + Latin versions of The History of Richard III around 1513, but he never published either work. That
he put his best efforts into composing it can be easily seen in the eloquence of his language, (e.g many classical allusions
+ that he wrote two different versions of it)

Explores the nature of tyranny  how it was possible for a tyrant to come to power in England despite the many laws /
institutions that had been developed. It is highly selective: excluding the background of the introduction, it covers only 3
months, 9-­‐04-­‐1483 (the death of Ed IV) to after July 6 (coronation of Rich III).

Because some of the passages in the Latin text are so striking, the earliest editor translated and included some of them in
the authoritative 1557 edition of the English text.

Structure of the Text:

1. INTRODUCTION: Background to Richard's Rise

2. RICHARD'S PLAN TO CONTROL YOUNG EDWARD V

3. SANCTUARY AND RICHARD'S RESPONSE

4. RICHARD EXTENDS HIS CONTROL

5. RICHARD'S NEXT STEP TO THE CROWN

6. FINAL STEPS TO RICHARD'S CROWNING

7. MURDER OF THE YOUNG PRINCES

8. BUCKINGHAM'S CONSPIRACY

RHETORICAL FIGURES IN THE HISTORY OF RICHARD III

Erasmus describes More's style as tending more "to Isocratic rhythm and logical subtlety than to the outpouring river
of Ciceronian eloquence," and that one can "recognize a poet even in [More's] prose for in his youth he spent much
time writing poetry."

I. MAJOR FIGURES RELATED TO ETHOS (i.e., to the character of the speaker):

Anamnesis: "Calling to memory past matters."  conveys the idea that the speaker is knowledgeable of the received
wisdom from the past."

• Shaa + Buckingham both quote scripture in their speeches . In the Latin version uses key terms from
Roman history, esp insitutudes of self-­‐government

Litotes: "The moderator." -­‐ Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite."
means of expressing modesty in order to gain the audience's favor

1. To Dispraise Another with Less Offense:

• "good men might, as I think, without sin somewhat less regard it than they do"

• as though no man mistrusted the matter, which of truth no man believed" (

2. To Praise Another with Greater Modesty:

• "taunting without displeasure, and not without play" (49.15-­‐16).

• "and thanks be to God they got not good, nor you none harm thereby" (45.7-­‐8).

3. To Disagree with Less Offense:

• "Yet will I not say nay" (25.2)

• "No man denies" (29.30).

• "And then said he to the Queen he nothing doubted but that those lords of her honorable kin . . .
should, upon the matter examined, do well enough" (31.1-­‐4).

Martyria: Confirms a question by one's own experience = credibility

• "However, this I have by credible information learned . . ." (6.14-­‐ 15).

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