The Theme Of Rationalism In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

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Daniel Defoe’s early novel Robinson Crusoe was first published in 1719, and its notions reflects on the key issues of the day; namely the enlightenment period. Although its full title reflects on the aspect of his adventures, there are much deeper meanings seen in the novel that echo the sentiments of the enlightenment. Defoe illustrates the blending of rationalism, empiricism, and religion within the novel to demonstrate how these ideas can collaborate, as Crusoe is able to not only survive on the island, but thrive. Rationalism has been a long rival with its counterpart of empiricism. Rationalism is defined as being “the view that regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge” and that the “rationalist asserts that a class of…show more content…
In the beginning of the story, Crusoe is not viewed as the most religious person. However, when he is on the island he repents and is able to fully enjoy his life, “whenever they come to a true sense of things, they will find deliverance from sin a much greater blessing than deliverance from affliction.” (Defoe p.62) According to him, his spiritual redemption was much more important than from any physical healing because he is able to atone for his mistakes. Crusoe goes farther by stating that all aspects in his life improved, “I had a great deal of comfort within, which till now I knew nothing of; also my health and strength returned.” (Defoe p. 62) This internal security allows Crusoe to appreciate what he has and be content in his life. Although Defoe’s novel isn’t the allegory that Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is, at the root of the novel is the spiritual journey and ultimate repentance of the title character; which Defoe compares to the parable of the prodigal…show more content…
Daniel Defoe seamlessly blends the enlightenment ideas of rationalism, empiricism, and religion in his novel. As a result of Crusoe’s being is stranded on the island, he has to reinvent his own culture and society. He is able to do this through reason and intellect; both as in a sense of rationalism which enables him to solve problems. Crusoe understands the value of learning through his mistakes and trial and error through empiricism which enables him create a life for himself. Finally, Crusoe is spiritually delivered, which gives him hope and comfort. By demonstrating these enlightenment ideas, Defoe is able to show how all of these ideas can be entwined and all benefit each

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