The Different Views on Slavery by Shakespeare and Defoe Essay example

The Different Views on Slavery by Shakespeare and Defoe Essay example

Length: 1466 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Literature has always been a source of exploring the world and the history of mankind. Two literary works of roughly the same age written by Daniel Defoe and William Shakespeare use the concept of slavery, race, and class in their works The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe. These two works have a common theme that can be found in both compositions; the problem of class, race, and slavery underlies the themes of servantship and slavery. The master-servant relationship in Robinson Crusoe is healthier compared to Prospero’s master- servant relationship because of the way that Crusoe addresses the issue of slavery, race, and class.
In the works by Defoe, Crusoe is shipwrecked and ends up on a deserted island where he spends nearly thirty years in solitude and is destined to meet a man who would become his faithful servant and slave name Friday. When Friday first encounters Crusoe; Crusoe saves him from being eaten by other cannibals “[…] and he came nearer and nearer, kneeling down every Ten or Twelve steps in token of acknowledgement for my saving his Life.” (Defoe, 223) The relationship between Crusoe and Friday is a unique type of bond. Friday seems to be very grateful to Crusoe for saving his life. He willingly becomes a servant to Crusoe, “kneeled down to me, seeming to pray me to assist him, […] and he became my servant.” (Defoe, 218) Crusoe’s attitude towards Friday is warm and inviting “I smiled at him and looked pleasantly, and beckoned to him to comes still nearer: […] (Defoe, 234). Teaching Friday English provides Crusoe with a conversational partner “[…] and having taught him English so well that he could answer me almost any question, I asked him […]. (Defoe, 234) Friday is a “servant” in the conventional sense of the world...


... middle of paper ...


...ased the tension between the masters and their servants. John Robert Moore explores the similar traits of the two stories and finds the evidence for the statement above in the ways how both Prospero and Crusoe are getting ready for their return to the civilized society: while the magician asks for his hat and a rapier, Crusoe simply dresses into the other clothes. (Moore, p. 52)








Works Cited

Defoe, Daniel. The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. S.O. Beeton, 1862. Print.
Jericho, Jeremy. William Shakespeare's “The Tempest.” Barron's Educational Series, 1986. Print.
Moore, John Robert. The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe. The Review of English Studies January 1945, 21(81): 52-56. Print.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Nelson Thornes, 1988. Print.
Wheeler, Roxann. “My Savage,” “My Man”: Racial Multiplicity in Robinson Crusoe. ELH Winter 1995, 62(4): 821-861. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Double Standard in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe Essay

- The Double Standard in Robinson Crusoe   As I read the excerpts from Robinson Crusoe I was quite affected by the double standard that was evident on the part of our "hero." This theme of the double standard is one that is realized in most antiquated texts. In explanation, whatever action the white European male performs is exceptionable behavior, but if another character, like a woman or a non-European does the same thing it becomes unexceptionable. An obvious example is Mr. Crusoe whose chosen profession was slave trader turned slave, a condition that was not an attractive lifestyle for him, but was fine for those who did not fit into his racial grouping....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]

Free Essays
414 words (1.2 pages)

Robinson Crusoe By Daniel Defoe Essays

- Robinson Crusoe, written by Daniel Defoe, is a historical fiction novel that takes place in the 1600’s. Although written by Defoe, the story is told completely in the first person by the main character Robinson. It allows the reader to experience the full story from his perspective and know what is going through his mind during main events. The story occurs in a variety of places, including England, the Brazils, and a deserted island in the Atlantic Ocean. However, a majority of the book takes place on the deserted island that Robinson gets stranded on after a shipwreck....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, Novel, Ibn Tufail]

Powerful Essays
992 words (2.8 pages)

Robinson Crusoe By Daniel Defoe Essay

- “Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” Robinson Crusoe changes vastly, from a stubborn man to a prideful but knowledgeable one. While he accomplishes his journey of self-discovery, these are achieved by the several apparent forces. In the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, the forces fear, natural disasters, and religion change Robinson Crusoe significantly. A principal force that changes Robinson Crusoe in the novel is fear....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Daniel Defoe, Man Friday]

Powerful Essays
789 words (2.3 pages)

The Life of Daniel Defoe Essay

- The Life of Daniel Defoe Daniel Defoe was easily one of the most influential and accomplished English author/writer of all time. Not only is Daniel Defoe considered as the founder of the English novel along with Samuel Richardson, but he was also a critical figure in European journalism and political commentary. Defoe has produced as much as 200 works of non fiction and 2,000 short essays in various periodical publications. In addition to over half a dozen full length novels such as Robinson Crusoe, a tale of a shipwrecked sailor stranded on a remote island....   [tags: English Literature Authors Daniel Defoe Essays]

Powerful Essays
1473 words (4.2 pages)

The Downfall of Man in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe Essay

- I would like to comment about how Crusoe lived with himself after he became the master in a heirarchy where he was once the slave. He is so unhappy with his role of slave he takes the first opportunity given to him to escape. He also takes the first opportunity given to him to become the master of those left on the boat. This is unforgivable. He throws a man over board because he does not believe he can trust him, but he knows he can trust the first boat that sails his way. Does this sound funny to anyone else....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]

Free Essays
1369 words (3.9 pages)

Essay about Character Transformation in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

- 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 in" (48). These are the words of a man for whom Mother Nature has the greatest affection....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]

Powerful Essays
1270 words (3.6 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]

Powerful Essays
1634 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Reader Response to Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

- Personal response to Robinson Crusoe "...I observe that the expectation of evil is more bitter than the suffering..."(p.181). Only after several readings of different portions of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and several attempts at drafting a different type of paper, did I finally decide upon using this particular quotation. For me the best kind of writing is the one that does itself, and this quote is the basis for that kind of writing. All I have to do is hold the pen. My first recollection of being "locked into" fear (aside from the boogey man, ghosts and witches) was the first time I had to be absent from school for several days....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]

Free Essays
997 words (2.8 pages)

Shakespears sounds Essay examples

- There are many benefits as to why plays are used to deliver entertainment rather than an author just writing their story on paper. A play pleases visual and auditory senses, while still delivering an entertaining storyline. Words on a page are simply no match for a play with the “extras” that come into the making of a play. Quoted to for his plays he wrote Ben Jonson said about William Shakespeare, “Soule of the Age. The applause. delight. The wonder of our stage!” William Shakespeare is one of the most influential playwrights to have ever existed....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Shakespeare]

Powerful Essays
2016 words (5.8 pages)

Essay on Slavery

- The Slaves’ And The Slaveowners’ Views Of Slavery “That face of his, the hungry cannibals Would not have touched, would not have stained with blood;-- But you are more inhuman, more inexorable, Oh. ten times more than tigers of Hyrcania.” Shakespeare I chose the topic about slavery for my research paper because I thought it would be an interesting experience doing research about slavery. It is American history and the more we know about it, the better we can understand what is going on today in our country....   [tags: Slavery Essays]

Powerful Essays
3131 words (8.9 pages)