The characters in Gullivers Travels and Robinson Crusoe are portrayed as resembling trained soldiers, being capable of clear thought during tense and troubled times. This quality possessed within Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver is a result of the author's background and knowledge. Daniel Defoe was knowledgeable and proficient in seamanship, he understood the workings of a ship and the skills required for its operation. Daniel Defoe, an intelligent man who is knowledgeable in self defense and military tactics, which is reflected in the actions of Robinson Crusoe who insists on always one step ahead of his opponent, wether it be an enemy, nature or himself. Robinson Crusoe is the know all, does all type of person. He becomes stranded on a desolate island and does whatever is necessary to survive. After being on the island for several years Crusoe learns to adapt to his surroundings (an important feature in becoming a good soldier) and lives with what he has.
In the 17th century, the Catholic reform was sweeping through many parts of Europe. The period from 1600 to about 1750 is known as the Baroque Era. Throughout this period the Catholic Church was fighting back against the effects of the Renaissance. The people of the Renaissance society started to question their beliefs in the church and tried to rationally explain the world around them. Several crusades were fought throughout this period and in the end England and France became "Christianized." Robinson Crusoe was published during the Baroque Era and it contained a great amount of Catholicism. Crusoe becomes a good Christian during his lonely stay on the deserted island and converts his companion F...
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... an attorney, a traitor, or the like: this is all according to the due course of things: but when I behold a lump of deformity and diseases, both in body and mind, smitten with pride, it im-mediatly breaks all the measures of my patience; neither shall I be ever able to comprehend how such an animal and such a vice could tally together. (Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels)
Both Gulliver and Robinson are changing characters. At first they could not see the hidden details of life. But through solitude, trauma, conquest and failure have allowed both characters to realize the achievements, failures, and stupidity of man kind. Being able to rationalize from experience and calculation is a quality of a soldier.
Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. New York: Bantam Books, 1991 ("Defoe")
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1959
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