The Effect Of God On Robinson Crusoe

1439 words - 6 pages

It has been observed that when placed in harsh or unusual conditions, people tend to look to spiritual support to help them overcome adversity. In Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe not only depicts the struggle of a man abandoned on a deserted island, but also depicts Crusoe's repentance for past disobedience against his father and humanity as well as his acceptance of religion into his life. Crusoe's religious beliefs, however, do not remain consistent; in fact, he later uses religion as a justification for murder and other immoral acts. Crusoe accepts religion into his life, repenting for his sins throughout the novel, however his faith is not genuine, only becoming strong when he experiences misfortunes.

Crusoe's religious beliefs are first encountered after he disobeys his father and sets sail in search of adventure and wealth. During the trip, the ship encounters a horrendous storm. During this storm, Crusoe believes he was "justly overtaken by the judgment for [his] wicked in leaving [his] Father's house" (Defoe 5). He then continued to pray for deliverance, promising to return to his father and never set sail again, if God saved him from the storm. However, the next day, once the storm ended and the sea was calm, Crusoe drank much alcohol and soon "drowned his repentance ... [and] forgot the vows and promises that [he] made in distress" (Defoe 7). Immediately the reader perceives the strength of Crusoe's religious faith. Crusoe only completely gives into religion when it is convenient or necessary for his safety.

The reader next encounters Crusoe's religious beliefs when his ship, once again founders in a storm, this time the entire crew perishes but Crusoe. Immediately upon reaching the island, Crusoe looks up to heaven and thanks God for his deliverance from his previous threat. After scavenging for items and building a giant fortress, Crusoe erects a giant cross on which to keep track of time and the Sabbath. However, unlike the custom of the times, Crusoe carves out a dedication "I came on shore here of the 30th of Sept. 1659" (Defoe 61) as opposed to a tribute to God or Christ. Next, in his journal, Crusoe begins to relieve himself by listing both the good and evil of his situation. Crusoe confronted with tragedy quickly takes religion into his life, but once again the sincerity in his beliefs can easily be questioned by the reader. Additionally, once Crusoe is settled into his life on the island, he forgets his commitment to religion until he becomes deathly ill. In his journal he writes "Very ill, frighted almost to death with the apprehension of my sad condition ... Prayed to God for the first time since the storm off Hull" (Defoe 84). His strength returns soon then suddenly he falls back into sickness. During this fit of illness he cries out for God to pity and have mercy on him. After waking up feeling better, but thirsty, Crusoe lies in bed and falls back to sleep. While asleep, Crusoe experiences a vision of a man...

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