Theme Of Overcoming Adversity In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

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Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe explores the concept of overcoming adversity to eventually gain a higher role of power. Robinson Crusoe was to lead a mundane life pursuing a career in law, had he followed his parents’ wishes and not been adamant about living a life at sea. However, going against his parents’ wants, he fashioned a life for his own at sea. Crusoe spends the majority of the novel building a life for himself that he would have not been able to have had he stayed in York. He became a plantation owner in Brasil, which is what lead to the shipwreck that caused him to become a castaway. While on the island he was shipwrecked on, he began to view himself as a Lord, or “Governour” (225), of the island. This novel explores the concept…show more content…
He left his family after being warned about the dangers of a life at sea, which he encountered multiple times. He traded Xury to the Captain of the Portuguese ship, and only felt he had “done wrong in parting with … Xury” (31) when he realized Xury would have been of help on the plantation Crusoe owned in Brasil. When he rescued Friday, Crusoe taught him to call him “Master” (174) instead of his name. Crusoe refers to Friday’s father and the Spaniard as “subjects” (204) rather than as companions. All these moments of interaction with others shows that Crusoe wants to have control of these people. A reader would believe that Crusoe would want friends after being isolated for so long, but that is not the case. He has built a potentially better life for himself on the island that he would have never been able to achieve in York. Crusoe has chosen to have servants, or subjects, rather than friends. Crusoe sent Friday to tell his father “the News of his being deliver’d” (200). He also makes it clear to the Englishmen who arrived on the island when there had been a mutiny on their ship that he is in control by saying, “… my Conditions are but two. 1. That while you stay on this Island with me, you will not pretend to any Authority here …”…show more content…
He frequently refers to the home he built for himself as his “Castle” (140) and intends on attacking the Savages for coming onto his island and threatening his sense of security. However, Crusoe decides against it. When the Savages return, he again questions attacking them: “…What Necessity I was in to go and dip my Hands in Blood, to attack People, who had neither done, or intended me any Wrong?” (195). Earlier in the novel, Crusoe’s reasoning was because since God had left them to continue living like this, he had no “authority … to pretend to be Judge and Executioner upon these Men as Criminals” (144). When the Savages returned to the island with the Spaniard, whom Friday had assured Crusoe was living amongst the Savages peacefully, Crusoe decides to take action and attack them. This attack is representative of Crusoe making a decision a ruler would make in a time of war when his people were under attack. Crusoe saw the Spaniard as one of his own because they were both European, and felt that if the Spaniard, who was supposedly in cohabitation with the Savages, was brought here to be eaten, the same could possibly happen to Crusoe if he went to that island with Friday. Crusoe is referred to as “Governour” by the Captain of an English ship whose crew had mutinied, and the Captain refers to the island as an English colony. This is the final title of power Crusoe is given before finally leaving his
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