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Self Interest And Greed In Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

1386 words - 6 pages

We can be defined by our actions and they have a way of revealing our true character. Robinson Crusoe, the main character in Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe, gets himself into many troubles because of his decisions based on self-interest and greed. Robinson Crusoe thinks very highly of himself and is very conceited which plays a big roll with getting him into many misadventures. There are many instances throughout the novel where it is very apparent that Robinson Crusoe only thinks about himself and not others. Throughout the novel along with only thinking about what is best for him, there are many instances where he only turns to God when he needs something. Every time that Crusoe makes one of his infamous decisions, based solely on greed, not long after he almost always regrets it.
In the very beginning of the novel, Robinson Crusoe has this battle in his head about if he should take his father’s advice to not go on a voyage, or if he should go just because he wants to experience it. Robinson Crusoe being the self-centered, naïve character that he is goes on the journey and regrets it in no time. As the weather begins to worsen Crusoe says, “and in this agony of mind I made many vows and resolutions, that if it would please God here to spare my life this one voyage, if ever I got once my foot upon dry land again, I would go directly home to my father, and never set it into a ship again while I lived; that I would take his advice, and never run myself into such miseries as these any more” (Defoe, 10). This is the first example where we see a naïve Robinson Crusoe make a selfish decision and immediately regret it. Crusoe’s vows and promises did not last long.
Throughout the novel, Crusoe’s greed and self-centeredness is revealed more and more. He finds himself a very loyal slave and ends up having no problem selling him. “He offered me also sixty pieces of eight more for my boy Xury;” this shows that Crusoe would rather have material wealth than a loyal friend and that he believes he is better than Xury (35). Robinson Crusoe does mention missing his slave, Xury, at one point but only because he would have wanted his labor. This lack of care for others is shown when he says, “But we both wanted help, and now I found, more than before, I had done wrong in parting with my boy Xury” (36). Throughout the novel, Crusoe’s actions reveal his morals do not seem what they should be.
Robinson Crusoe begins to recognize his want and need for material things himself as he makes continuous trips to the wrecked ship to retrieve items from it. “I had the biggest magazine of all kinds now that ever were laid up, I believe, for one man; but I was not satisfied still, for while the ship sat upright in that posture, I thought I ought to get everything out of her that I could” (55). Again, Crusoe’s words display his greediness and obsession with material things. Being stranded on an island you would not need all of the material...

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