Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe And The Virtues Of Protestantism

1639 words - 7 pages

Robinson Crusoe and the Virtues of Protestantism

Many people have pointed out that Robinson Crusoe's experiences on the island seem to be a reflection of the growth of civilization and society. Considering the prominent role that religion plays in the novel, it would be worthwhile to examine the progression of religious and political thought in Crusoe's "society." Through the experiences of one man, we can observe the progression of religion from the private realm to the public realm, the conflicts inherent in such a progression, and the resolution to these conflicts. This evolution of religious and political thought affirms two ideas: 1) in the personal realm, it affirms religious individualism--the idea that one can and should find his God independently from any human authority or intermediary (i.e. priests); and 2) in the public realm, the novel affirms that religious toleration, especially on the part of those in power, is the appropriate way to resolve those conflicts that are inherent in the transition of religion from the private to the public. Crusoe discovers (primarily through trial and error and constant introspection) both of these ideas and eventually succeeds in implementing both of them. He "finds God" without the guidance of anyone, and he ultimately becomes a tolerant ruler of the island with respect to religion. Surprisingly, Crusoe never lives up to his personal definition of a "good Christian." But perhaps this is just a touch or realism by Defoe, since Crusoe is otherwise so successful at recognizing religious individualism and instituting religious toleration on the island, both of which are very important to Defoe.

            The first step in the religious progression of Crusoe is his personal discovery of God. Through his example, he shows that no human intermediary is needed in order to find God; finding God should and must be an independent act. He tells us that he was moved to repent without the help of any teacher or instructor, with only the Bible to help him (160). Curiously enough, it was his very rebellion against his father and the "Middle Station" that put him in a position to find God on his own, something that may not have happened if he had obeyed and merely accepted the "hand-me-down" religion and lifestyle of his father. But it was his relationship with Friday that would later confirm his suspicion of priesthood. In his attempt to Christianize Friday, Crusoe realizes that it is impossible for him to teach Friday certain aspects of faith: "...yet nothing but divine Revelation can form the Knowledge of Jesus Christ...nothing but a Revelation from Heaven, can form [knowledge of Christ] in the Soul..." (158). Crusoe learns that he, like a priest, cannot substitute for divine revelation. This is a recurring theme for Crusoe, and he explicitly attacks the institution of priesthood in the Catholic church (and presumably the Anglican church as well). He attacks the institution of priesthood on the...

Find Another Essay On Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and the Virtues of Protestantism

The Central Characteristics of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

1178 words - 5 pages The central characteristics of a novel are essential to keeping the story alive and the reader interested. A pervasive illusion of reality, individualized and believable characters and a plausible plot are the main characteristics that are most central to the novel form (Taormina, 2005). These three things are evident in Defoe’s 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. In the early eighteenth century, when Robinson Crusoe was written, there were no set rules

Comparing Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe

1120 words - 5 pages inspired to write Robinson Crusoe by his living conditions, income, some of their troubles, and their writing. Both Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe’s living conditions varied throughout their lives. These gentlemen were both born in England defoe in London, and Crusoe in York. However Defoe was a real human being and actually went through some of the troubles that Crusoe faced. At an early age both Defoe and Crusoe had to rely on their parents for

Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

840 words - 3 pages Robinson Crusoe This book report is on the story Robinson Crusoe. The book was written by Daniel Defoe. The genre of the story is adventure fiction. The book has a total of 266 pages. Robinson Crusoe, the main protagonist in the story, was born in 1632 in the city of York. He was the third son of a German merchant, and was taught very early in his life to be a man of law. Despite this, all that Robinson wanted to do was go to sea. Robinson

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

742 words - 3 pages While the book, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, is exciting and enjoyable to read during a raining day, there are a few peculiarities that spring into mind when reading the book. These peculiarities cast doubt on the reality of the book and a question comes to mind; could this have really happened? Some say that, because of the in-depth descriptions in the book, that it is a true account. However, Swiss Family Robinson, a story of a

Exploring Social Class in Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

1673 words - 7 pages poor. This essay will ask how Literature can reinforce dominant ideas about class and how it can also undermine them. To answer this question this essay will first focus on Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and will then turn to The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. With Robinson Crusoe, Defoe, gives his own definition of class, according to him the world is divided into civilized people and savages. Defoe also emphasizes that the middle

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

Faith, Religion and Conflict in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

687 words - 3 pages The novel Robinson Crusoe was written in 1719 by Daniel Defoe in London. It can be separated into three parts that include Crusoe’s life before the shipwreck, the twenty-eight years that he was stranded on an island, and his experiences after being rescued from the island. The first section of the book is basically about how Crusoe didn’t take his father’s advice in not pursuing a life at sea. He goes out to sea anyway and at first has some

Order and Disorder in "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe

2561 words - 10 pages "Robinson Crusoe" is more than just a story about a man shipwrecked on an island. The island is paradoxical place, because it simultaneously becomes a heaven and a threat. It will overwhelm and conquer Crusoe if he does not make it his paradise. The psychological tricks are survival tactics. And as many philosophers wrote that man in this sort of state of nature was a social animal, that the bestial life of the solitary savage was insecure, and

Dealing With the Consequences of Life in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

736 words - 3 pages Dealing With the Consequences of Life In Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Robinson faces the biggest and longest challenge of his life. As Robinson attempts to find his role in life, he travels around the world to experience what he might deem worthy to live for. He takes comfort in material things such as wealth and possessions, which is what gets him in trouble over time. Robinson was told to take the middle path in life, but choosing the

Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Man and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

2855 words - 11 pages Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Man and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe The theme of "man’s relationship to God and the universe" presented in Epistle 1 of Alexander Pope’s "An Essay on Man" complements Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Crusoe is an inconsistent character who turns to God whenever he is in need, yet fails to maintain respect for nature and for his fellow man. In the first year of Robinson Crusoe’s solitary life on the island, he

Greed in King Lear, by William Shakespeare, and Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

868 words - 3 pages The play, The Tragedy Of King Lear, by William Shakespeare, and the story, Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, are very different in various ways, from the way the story was told to how the story was set. Despite how different the stories are there was one connection that particularly stood out to me, being the greed shared by most of the main characters in both stories. Goneril, Regan, and Edmund in King Lear and Robinson Crusoe in his own story

Similar Essays

The Religious Dimension Of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

1198 words - 5 pages The Religious Dimension of Robinson Crusoe          Robinson Crusoe’s discovery of the work ethic on the small island goes hand in hand with a spiritual awakening.  Robinson Crusoe is not a very profound religious thinker, although religion is part of his education and transformation.  He claims he reads the Bible, and he is prepared to quote it from time to time.  But he doesn’t puzzle over it or even get involved in the narrative or

Character Transformation In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

1266 words - 5 pages Character Transformation in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe "Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which I felt when I sunk into the water; for though I swam very well, yet I could not deliver myself from the waves so as to draw breath, till that wave having driven me, or rather carried me, a vast way on towards the shore and, having spent itself, went back, and left me upon the land almost dry, but half dead with the water I took

Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe". Self Interpretation And Defence Of Text Including Intertextuality And Reading Practices

1767 words - 7 pages success.Although the themes behind "Robinson Crusoe" were potentially fascinating, I found that it was conveyed in a rather tedious manner. Defoe's style of writing may be superbly written, but much of the writing is also dry and somewhat unemotional."Robinson Crusoe" is rather slow moving, and is not for those who like quick action or lots of dialogue. Defoe tends to draw out the events, and a great deal of imagery is provided with intention of

Daniel Defoe's Robin Crusoe Essay

1910 words - 8 pages Crusoe, he published Moll Flanders in 1722, using "his experiences in Newgate prison to add realism". "Daniel used to go to prison cells and even the scaffold to receive manuscripts for these lives of criminals themselves". Finally, he died on April 24, 1731 in Cripplegate of lethargy (Moore 2).      His first successful novel was Robinson Crusoe, which was a very big hit. It was about a man named