A Look At Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe English Literature Essay

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Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) is regarded as the most notable forerunner of the English Novel or to some extent the first English Novel. It was written at the beginning a century that witnessed great changes in the economic order. The cognoscenti have dealt with the character of Robinson Crusoe, bringing out several points of view. The motive of this piece of work is to study Crusoe’s philosophy about trade, religion and non-Europeans in its historical background. These three facets of Crusoe’s personality are inherently connected with each other and are thus fundamental to an appreciation of Crusoe’s mindset and character. His disposition towards dealings and religion is prompted by realistic considerations. He capitalizes on non-Europeans and is backed by spiritual beliefs in his discriminating treatment. The next consideration of the three main aspects of Crusoe’s nature will help us to grasp his character and inform us of the prevalent trends of the Eighteenth Century.

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After returning to England, Crusoe’s comparison of himself to the biblical character Job in chapter XXIX displays much about how he gives his martyrdom religious meaning: “I might well say now indeed, that the latter End of Job was better than the Beginning. It is impossible to express here the Flutterings of my very Heart when I looked over these Letters and especially when I found all my Wealth about me; for as the Brazil Ships come all in Fleets, the same Ships which brought my Letters brought my Goods…” . Like Job, whose religious devotion was gauged by God through the deprivation of family and wealth, Crusoe is dispossessed of his money while nonetheless pledging allegiance to the Deity. In a similar way, the protagonist’s pride in escaping the “middle Station” is a mark of Greek mythology in which the characters suffer from hubris and are therefore scourged by their sin. His father’s dictum sounds like a prophetic statement for Crusoe’s predicament: “Boy might be happy if he would stay at Home, but if he goes abroad he will be the most miserable Wretch that was ever born.” He unremittingly ponders over his connection with the Lord throughout the novel and how much God is penalizing him for his “wicked Days”.

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Friday’s pronouncement that one of the victims is a European “fired all the very Soul within” him. He was “filled with Horror at the very Naming of the white bearded man,” whom he saw vividly was “a European, and had clothes on.” Such a fact clearly unfolds Crusoe’s real sympathy for Europeans, whatever he might say in calmer moments. The coming idea we have referred to is not easy to elaborate. We can pay attention to the fact that Crusoe is never disposed to acknowledge a relation on equal terms with non-Europeans. He purposely strives for appearing to them awe-inspiring and assumes, as a matter of course, that they should be willing to offer up their lives for his privilege. Lastly, the fourth aspect to expound is that Crusoe’s concept of nationalities, though not racist, seems to be prejudiced against the bulk of “native” peoples who are seen as evil and deserving of God’s punishment. It is true that he leaves it to God to punish them, but the expression of the theory is meant to limit our empathy for them. In the following paragraph Crusoe goes on to observe: “…we did not know by what Light and Law these should be condemned; but that as God was necessarily, and by the Nature of His Being, infinitely holy and just, so it could not be, but that if these Creatures were all sentenced to Absence from himself; it was on Account of sinning against the Light…”.

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