The State Of Nature In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

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In Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe writes under the guise of a shipwrecked man who establishes his own empire while alone on an island. In fact, the novel was originally published without Defoe 's name attached. Instead, it was presented as a true story as written by Crusoe to tell the world of his adventures. Robinson Crusoe is also known to have some very close parallels with John Locke 's Second Treatise of Government. In fact, some interpret it as a simply Locke 's ideas repackaged into a work of fiction. However, Defoe is also using the novel to point out some potential problems with what Locke wrote, instead of strictly adhering to them. Since Defoe labeled his novel as a true story, he intended his use of the ideas of Locke to be interpreted…show more content…
Locke defines this as “a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit” (8). Defoe first weaves a situation in which Crusoe finds himself alone on an island where he is free from the control of any government. Crusoe must establish himself on the island and he now fits Locke 's definition of being in a state of nature. Defoe has now woven a sort of real life sandbox in which he has implemented Locke 's ideas. Since the reader is meant to believe that they are reading non-fiction, they would interpret this as proof that Locke 's ideas about the state of nature are valid. The reader logically is meant to conclude that what happens to Crusoe after that point is a consequence of the ideas contained in the Second…show more content…
A key assumption that Locke makes is that all individuals in a state of nature are on equal grounds and thus have equal access to resources. Locke asserts that, in regard to use of resources, “every man should have as much as he could make use of” (23). Over the course of more than twenty years, Crusoe establishes himself on the island. He creates an easily defended stronghold for him to live in and cultivates a herd of goats to sustain himself. Crusoe is not being greedy with his resources, he is simply doing his best to use the land. However, by the time other people arrive on the island, Crusoe is well established with much more resources than anyone else. He is thus powerful enough to convince all newcomers to be his subjects and makes himself a king. Defoe makes sure to show how much like a king Crusoe has become, with Crusoe remarking “my people were perfectly subjected: I was absolute lord and law-giver; they all ow 'd their lives to me, and were ready to lay down their lives, if there had been occasion of it, for me” (190). Defoe is very careful to ensure that the reader views Crusoe as being a

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