The Questioning of Faith in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

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The enlightenment period was a time of vast change among the greater population of England. This once torn nation divided by the split in religions, and the roulette wheel of monarchs and kings has finally slowed. England was once again becoming a unified front and was at the forefront of the changing civilization. Laws were changing, people were gaining new rights, and power of free choice. Women could now have a say in matters. Access to knowledge and literature was becoming more abundant and the world was growing as new cultures were being discovered in far off lands. As Dorinda Outram explains in Panorama of the Enlightenment she proclaims that “the Enlightenment may equally be seen as a world drama of cross cultural contact, a consequence for both Europeans and indigenous peoples” (Outram 130). Yet the true nature of people was still to be tested. All across England, people were beginning to question their faith in the Christian Church. The idea of remaining faithful to one religion was changing, “Religious conversion. Which was essentially irrational, was almost a parody of enlightenment” (Outram 182). People were swapping religions as often as they awoke for the day. England’s population began looking to the advances in science and medicine as explanations for these once miracles. Great scientists were discovering theories of relativity and the idea of gravity and the universe as the days flipped by. Though many people “paid little attention to disseminating scientific knowledge” (Outram 241), the facts was that it was there. With the idea of faith in a higher power collapsing with each turning year, the people began to look to other sources for answers. This had an adverse effect on the writers of this time period as we...

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...ll but gone now. The conscious idea that we are nothing but puppets on a sting for the maestro to control, as we do the dance of life through the world he created ceases to exist. These are the notions that Defoe challenges with every enduring line of Robinson Crusoe. He takes a man of devout faith and strands him on an island of isolation with nothing but his ideas of god. He pushes this man to his limits. Crusoe strength as a man is tested, his will as a person of god is shaken, and his notion of faith lay buried in the sand on the island he was rescued from. He survives by nothing more then his own hands, not by the hands of a creator. Though he was once a man of god, he leaves the island a man of self. He now lives for him, and no one else.

Works Cited

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. 1719. Ed. Evan R. Davis. Peterborough: Broadview, 2010. Print.

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