Moral And Religious Struggle In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

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Daniel Defoe depicts his own moral and religious struggles through the character of Robinson Crusoe. Although it is arguable that “Robinson Crusoe” as a Conversion Narrative is problematic, there is evidence to suggest this novel was a personal expression of Defoe’s own spiritual and moral journey. Through Crusoe’s obsession with material objects, his relationship with Friday, and his embracing of isolation, Defoe depicts his own moral and religious dilemmas regarding aspects of his life such as bankruptcy, colonialism, and politics.
Throughout “Robinson Crusoe” the protagonist demonstrates a constant desire for material objects. At the beginning of the novel Robinson Crusoe’s father pleads for Crusoe to live a life where, “men [go] silently
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Crusoe’s account of material objects, and his desire and goals for new possessions is a constant motivator for him. While many of these objects are crucial to Robinson’s survival, his constant scrutiny over the material is something his father had directly warned him against. This materialistic mentality is something the Bible warns followers against as well. Proverbs 30:8 reads: Give me neither poverty nor riches — Feed me with the food allotted to me. This passage suggests that a biblical man does not become arrogant with riches, nor poor from lack of honest work, but relies on God to have his needs met. In 1692, Daniel Defoe faced bankruptcy. Perhaps Defoe’s religious influences would have suggested this financial failure was due to his lack of faith in God, or punishment for his moral or religious shortcomings. Perhaps some of the financial crisis Defoe went through is reflected through Crusoe’s meticulous accounts of his own …show more content…
In this way, Robinson Crusoe creates his own societal structure and hierarchy despite his isolation. Ironically, his position of rank would be absolutely meaningless without Friday. Although Crusoe puts himself above Friday in this way, he would be nothing without him. Throughout Daniel Defoe’s life, nothing brought him more passion and misfortune than his involvement in politics. Therefore, it would be ignorant to suggest Defoe wrote “Robinson Crusoe” without the thought of politics very present within his mind. However, Defoe places Crusoe in what appears to be a solitary lack of environment: socially, politically, or otherwise - Crusoe is in nearly complete isolation. By means of this illustration, Defoe has purposefully muted out the many background noises of the readers’ everyday distractions in order to draw their attention to what he considers the most crucial component of life. It is clear that although Defoe lived his whole life for politics, he struggled with the effect it had on people; the subjects and their superiors. Additionally, because of Defoe’s inability to remain positioned with either the Whig’s or Tories, perhaps the isolation and hierarchy Robinson Crusoe builds for himself is an expression of the peace Defoe hoped to one day find within his own political life. By providing Crusoe’s island

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