Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and the Virtues of Protestantism Essay

Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and the Virtues of Protestantism Essay

Length: 1634 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Robinson Crusoe and the Virtues of Protestantism


Many people have pointed out that Robinson Crusoe's experiences on the island seem to be a reflection of the growth of civilization and society. Considering the prominent role that religion plays in the novel, it would be worthwhile to examine the progression of religious and political thought in Crusoe's "society." Through the experiences of one man, we can observe the progression of religion from the private realm to the public realm, the conflicts inherent in such a progression, and the resolution to these conflicts. This evolution of religious and political thought affirms two ideas: 1) in the personal realm, it affirms religious individualism--the idea that one can and should find his God independently from any human authority or intermediary (i.e. priests); and 2) in the public realm, the novel affirms that religious toleration, especially on the part of those in power, is the appropriate way to resolve those conflicts that are inherent in the transition of religion from the private to the public. Crusoe discovers (primarily through trial and error and constant introspection) both of these ideas and eventually succeeds in implementing both of them. He "finds God" without the guidance of anyone, and he ultimately becomes a tolerant ruler of the island with respect to religion. Surprisingly, Crusoe never lives up to his personal definition of a "good Christian." But perhaps this is just a touch or realism by Defoe, since Crusoe is otherwise so successful at recognizing religious individualism and instituting religious toleration on the island, both of which are very important to Defoe.

            The first step in the religious progression of Crusoe is his personal di...


... middle of paper ...


...bsolute morality of Christianity, primarily with regard to cannibals and others whom God had apparently chosen to be left in the dark (this question pops up multiple times--142, 151, 168). For in these "questioning" scenes, Crusoe does not exempt Protestantism from critique; he is questioning Christianity in general, and whether or not its hold on truth is real or illusory. It seems to me that Defoe was concerned with religious toleration for more than selfish reasons; he saw religious toleration as a moral responsibility of all Christians, including Catholics and Protestants, and as the only resolution to the conflict between the personal and public realms of religion. So Robinson Crusoe turns out to be just as concerned about toleration in general as it is about the virtues of Protestantism. At least in Robinson Crusoe, Defoe turned out to be fairly open-minded.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Robinson Crusoe By Daniel Defoe Essay example

- Robinson Crusoe Analysis As boys grow into men they go through a series of changes, leaving them doubting both themselves and their beliefs. One specific author who explores this is Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe. In this publication, Defoe writes about a man who emerges from a series of catastrophes as a symbol of man’s ability to survive the tests of nature. Because of the many hardships that Defoe encountered throughout his life, writing about a man whose thoughts and internal struggles mirrored his own helps to give the publication a sense of realism....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Daniel Defoe]

Powerful Essays
1172 words (3.3 pages)

Robinson Crusoe By Daniel Defoe Essays

- Robinson Crusoe, written by Daniel Defoe, is a historical fiction novel that takes place in the 1600’s. Although written by Defoe, the story is told completely in the first person by the main character Robinson. It allows the reader to experience the full story from his perspective and know what is going through his mind during main events. The story occurs in a variety of places, including England, the Brazils, and a deserted island in the Atlantic Ocean. However, a majority of the book takes place on the deserted island that Robinson gets stranded on after a shipwreck....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, Novel, Ibn Tufail]

Powerful Essays
992 words (2.8 pages)

Robinson Crusoe By Daniel Defoe Essay

- “Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” Robinson Crusoe changes vastly, from a stubborn man to a prideful but knowledgeable one. While he accomplishes his journey of self-discovery, these are achieved by the several apparent forces. In the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, the forces fear, natural disasters, and religion change Robinson Crusoe significantly. A principal force that changes Robinson Crusoe in the novel is fear....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Daniel Defoe, Man Friday]

Powerful Essays
789 words (2.3 pages)

Daniel Defoe 's Robinson Crusoe Essay

- 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....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Daniel Defoe, Man Friday]

Powerful Essays
1143 words (3.3 pages)

Daniel Defoe 's Robinson Crusoe Essays

- Despite being the titular character, protagonist, and narrator of Daniel Defoe’s novel “Robinson Crusoe”, Robinson Crusoe is both a static and unlikeable character. Even after his incredibly journey through the course of the book, Crusoe shows limited to no signs of personal growth or development. It is difficult to sympathise with Crusoe even after all of the hardships he endured as he is only truly interested in furthering his own agenda. Throughout the novel Crusoe is constantly presented as a racist and self centered man....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Daniel Defoe, Man Friday]

Powerful Essays
725 words (2.1 pages)

Analysis Of Daniel Defoe 's Robinson Crusoe Essay

- 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....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Daniel Defoe, Ibn Tufail]

Powerful Essays
1019 words (2.9 pages)

Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe Essay

- Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe The balance between agency and the challenges to it proposed by unexplained or supernatural occurrences is of central importance in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Additionally, the question of human control over various surroundings seemingly develops commensurate to the title character’s increased reliance on and understanding of his faith. That particular conflict is a replication of the overall theme of the narrative — Crusoe’s finding increasing discomfort the more familiar he becomes with his environment....   [tags: Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]

Powerful Essays
1199 words (3.4 pages)

Analysis Of Daniel Defoe 's The God Forsaken Robinson Crusoe Essay

- To condemn society, Daniel Defoe wrote the story of the god-forsaken Robinson Crusoe. Somewhat like Shakespeare 's The Tempest, Defoe gives specific details on how to create a utopian society. In The Tempest, the feeble society of Prospero 's island addresses the characteristics of ethics, the paranormal and policies in the superior British society. In Defoe 's Robinson Crusoe, the island 's natural surroundings highlight the subject of man 's individual growth, both spiritually and physically. Nature precipitously exercises its supremacy and rheostat over man in the stifling storm that leads to the debris of Crusoe 's ship....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe, Novel, Ibn Tufail, Daniel Defoe]

Powerful Essays
1479 words (4.2 pages)

Book Review on Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe Essay

- Book Review on Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe The book I have chosen to do review on is "Robinson Crusoe". The author of the book is Daniel Defoe. The book was first published in 1719. The publishers that published the book were Penguin. Robinson Crusoe wanted to be sailor but his family wouldn't let him. When he got older he left and became a sailor. He went to South America and bought his own cotton farm. He had to make a voyage to Africa to get some slaves. On the way the ship got caught in a storm and it was destroyed....   [tags: Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe Essays]

Free Essays
496 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe

- Daniel Defoe was an extraordinary man. Although he never had the benefit of a university education, he spoke six languages and was able to read even more. His curriculum included having been a government spy, a shopkeeper, and a journalist. As the latter, he was employed by both major parties. Of course, serving two lord is impossible, so after he got into trouble with both of these parties, he turned to writing as another means of living. The first major difference between Defoe's work and most other books dating from this time is that Robinson Crusoe is really entertaining, quite exhilarating and at times even amusing to read....   [tags: Defoe Robinson Crusoe Essays]

Free Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)