Self-interest and Greed in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

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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-centere...

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...ny different outlooks on life. His extreme behavior changed on a day to day basis and his need for social interaction depended on when he needed help. Only caring for himself got Robinson Crusoe into many bad situations. If he would have cared for others as much as himself and his greediness, he would not have been on the island alone, or he would have no have even went on the very first voyage at all. By the end of the novel Crusoe did have one very loyal friend name Friday who was on the island with as well. Although throughout the novel Robinson Crusoe was very much defined by his greediness and conceitedness, in the end it made him that much more aware of what was truly important, the loyalty of his friend Friday and the kindness of everyone who crossed his path.

Works Cited

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2003. Print.
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