Robinson Crusoe: King or Soul Searcher
When one thinks about the character Robinson Crusoe, sensational pictures of a deserted island, a free, self-sufficient guy, and a shipwreck come to mind. However, to comprehend who Robinson Crusoe is as a character, one need to first understand the society that he was raised in and how that adds to his actions on the island. In other words, with the consistent tension of attempting to make something of himself in Seventeenth Century Europe, it seemed the only way out was to go out and start a life of his own. Therefore, Robinson’s adventures were born.
However, throughout the unique readers exist with the sense that Robinson just yearns for to be a complimentary and self-dependent male on his island, without any social pressures, laws, or other citizens to govern his life. Though this concept may appear to be the underlying reason for Robinson’s actions on the island, it is made clear by the end of the novel that Crusoe never ever ends up being the self-sufficient and solitary identity he craves, rather he ends up being king of the island controlling all aspects of the island, both animate and inanimate as well as the people that cross his course.
Crusoe’s characterization from a baffled young adult to a King marks Robinson Crusoe as being among the very first books because of the growth and individualism of Crusoe himself. At the start of the novel, Crusoe is portrayed as a young, naive, eighteen years of age guy who is confused about his place in society and what his future holds. He given advice from his father to end up being an attorney and an active member of society, however, Robinson is not sure that this is what he wants to provide for the rest of his life. However, it is this dispute with his daddy that instills the enlightened and superior attitude of Crusoe.
In a patriarchal society, Crusoe would have been expected to obey the words of his daddy; nevertheless, his disobedience is a catalyst for taking place occasions that take place once he reaches the island. In his article “King Crusoe: Locke’s Political Theory in Robinson Crusoe,” Ian A. Bell states that, “He [Crusoe’s daddy] makes no effort to force or coerce Crusoe into obeying him. Instead of stressing the tasks of kids to respect and obey their parents, and the dreadful consequences of disobedience, this episode seems to reveal the flexibility of topics to comprise their own minds and to make their own mistakes” (Bell, 28).
This rebellion in a purely patriarchal society was unusual in its time, however, it gives readers a peek of what Robinson is really like on the within. He longs to be complimentary, do what he pleases, and live a singular life in which he just pursues his own self-interest. The problem is that this element of Robinson’s identity intensifies into a seemingly power-hungry state as soon as he reaches the island and actually begins to pursue that solitary way of life. (Bell, 28). When Crusoe establishes himself on the island, he ends up being consumed by the mindset that whatever on the island belongs to him as he is the only occupant of the island.
He wishes for order and a balanced lifestyle and starts to build his shelter which is typically described as his fortress and the island is his kingdom. Inside this shelter he furnishes himself with several items that he had throughout his time as a plantation owner and as a member of society in England. However, in order to do so he should develop everything himself; from his bed, to his table and chairs, and other belongings he constructs himself, everything that he owns, he has developed by himself. This give Crusoe the state of mind that he is the ruler of his own kingdom as he has attended to himself.
In the middle of producing his own kingdom Crusoe says, “I was Lord of the entire Manor, or if I pleas ‘d, I might call myself King, or Emperor, over the entire nation which I had ownership of. There were no competitors, I had no rival, none to dispute sovereignty or command with me” (Defoe, 89). It is paradoxical, nevertheless, that Crusoe goes to such lengths to create this kingdom that significantly looks like the possessions and way of life he had while in England, when all he wished to perform in the first place was leave said society in order to pursue his own self-interests.
In his post, “Unavoidable Politics: Rulership and Identity in Robinson Crusoe,” Frank Donoghue states that the development of his own society is an effort to establish the “status” that readers often think about him– being particular, independent, and self-dependent. Nevertheless, Bell states, “Crusoe’s possessiveness of the island is an expression of his dream of seclusion and an effort to reduce his more plausible suspicions that someone else owns it” (Donoghue, 3). Simply put, due to his exile on the island, Crusoe becomes connected to the island as he is convinced it is his.
He would not give up his comfy lifestyle as ruler of his kingdom for any reason or to anyone. It is at this point that readers start to see Crusoe’s change from a young, ignorant, and baffled young adult to a possessive, power starving, ruler of none on his island (Donoghue, 3). Moreover, something strange occurs in Crusoe’s characterization when he chooses to write his journal. Defoe’s option in composing specific events through a first-person narrative in Crusoe’s journal permits readers to enter the mind of Crusoe as an individual.
It is through the journal that readers see the progression of Crusoe into a delusional “King” of the island. The journal is an everyday account on how the island changes into his kingdom. It is here that Crusoe reverts back to Protestant suitables of God and Providence. He has a spiritual discovery in which he explains, “it is God that has actually made it all. Well, but then it began oddly; if God has made all these things, He guides and governs them all, and all things that worry them: for the Power that could make all things must definitely have power to guide and direct them” (Defoe, 94).
This supports the claim that Crusoe is king as faith has actually been a tool used to rule civilizations given that the beginning of time. Crusoe’s kingdom is no different as he emulates Seventeenth Century European beliefs of Protestant’s Providence theory and Monarchy. Just as God has made, ruled, and attended to his kingdom, Crusoe adjusts this approach for his own kingdom, making all things required to live, providing for himself and the ultimate residents to come, along with acquiring total guideline over the entire island.
As Defoe continues to compose in a first-person narrative design, readers begin to see exactly how Crusoe thinks of and interprets the occasions that happen on the island. He has currently established himself as the ruler of his kingdom on the island, however, he still expresses a longing for a companion considering that he has actually been alone on the island for years now. Whether this longing is due to a sincere isolation or a desire for power over another person is unclear until readers are presented to Friday. Perhaps he wishes for a good friend, or perhaps he wishes for a method to spread the suitables of his kingdom to other individuals.
In numerous ways, Crusoe establishes himself as an Imperialist ruler when Friday pertains to the island. In a time when Europe was well-known for spreading their beliefs to other civilizations, much like previous kings of the past, Crusoe does the same once Friday establishes himself as part of Crusoe’s kingdom. It is clear from the beginning of Friday’s stay on the island that Crusoe is insistent on requiring his beliefs and eventually managing Friday, just like Europe’s imperialism. As quickly as Friday gets here, Crusoe clothing him, teaches him English, and converts him to Protestantism in order to make him less of a “savage. Crusoe ignores Friday’s current lifestyle and transforms Friday into his slave. “I also taught him taught him to state “Master,” and then let him know that was to be my name; I likewise taught him to state “yes” and “no” and to know the significance of them” (Defoe, 209). Not just does this make Friday Crusoe’s servant, but it demonstrates how Crusoe possesses attributes of an Imperialist. In his article, “Broadening Empires, Broadening Selves: Colonialism, The Novel, And Robinson Crusoe,” Brett C. Mcinelly uses a reason for Crusoe’s King mindset. Crusoe’s propensity to envision himself in grandiose terms replicates something of what was happening in the culture at large in the early eighteenth century … England had been expanding and the pride of Englishness had been swelling, especially with recommendation to the nation’s overseas belongings” (Mcinelly, 6). It is clear that despite the fact that Crusoe left England in order to escape the society and pursue himself, he still holds pride for where he originates from. Leading to his island kingdom’s emulation of Seventeenth Century Europe society, way of life, and the spread of Protestantism.
Mcinelly stresses that Imperialism significantly affected England’s nationwide identity, however, it is also clear that it has affected the way Crusoe thinks of his kingdom and how he will govern the people who inhabit it (Mcinelly, 6). One last example of Crusoe’s characterization into King takes place after the mutineers attack the island. He now survives on the island with Friday, Friday’s dad, and the lone Spaniard. Crusoe holds true to the concept that everything on the island is his residential or commercial property, including the people that populate it.
For instance, in concerns to the rescue of Friday’s father and the Spaniard Crusoe states, “My island was now peopled, and I believed myself very abundant in Topics: and it was a merry Reflection which I frequently made, How like a King I look ‘d. Firstly, the entire Nation was my own meer Residential or commercial property, so that I had an undoubted Right of Rule. 2ndly, My Individuals were completely subjected, I was absolute Lord and Law-giver, they all owed their Lives to me” (Defoe, 241). He forces the Spaniard to pledge obligation to him rather than his own individuals if he wishes to get off the island.
Maybe this is due to Crusoe’s power-hungry frame of mind, or possibly Crusoe is now paranoid that he will lose his Kingship now that there are more residents on the island. Therefore, he quickly forces the new people to abide by his rule and swear obligation to him to make sure that he will permanently be the ruler of his Kingdom and avoid disobedience from his brand-new residents. Robinson Crusoe’s improvement from a young, ignorant, confused young adult into a self-dependent King, though it takes years, is proof for how individuals grow and develop inside the book.
In an age where literature was mainly written for rich nobles, Defoe offered the middle class people of Seventeenth Century England a lead character that they might connect to. Robinson, uncertain of his future and what he was going to end up being, headed out to find who he was as an individual– a possibility that practically all middle class citizens of the time were rejected. Through the events and people in Crusoe’s life and inside his kingdom he discovered religious success, friendship and friendship, and a chance to assess who he was as a person.
Defoe enhanced Crusoe’s individuality, growth, and development by composing in a first person narrative type. By doing this of composing let readers enter Crusoe’s mind to reveal his real thoughts and feelings about what was going on in his kingdom. Crusoe ended up being an extremely sensible character due to the fact that individuals who were placed in his scenario would have probably acted the very same way– he was the only individual on the island and was therefore its rightful ruler. This transformation that Crusoe withstands is what specifies Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as arguably the first novel consisting of such a vibrant protagonist. Functions Cited
Bell, Ian A. “King Crusoe: Locke’s Political Theory In Robinson Crusoe.” English Researches 69. 1 (1988 ): 27. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Dec. 2010. Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. New York: New American Library, 2008. Print. Donoghue, Frank. 1995. “Inevitable politics: Rulership and identity in Robinson Crusoe.” Studies in the Unique 27, no. 1: 1. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed December 8, 2010). Mcinelly, Brett C. “Expanding Empires, Expanding Selves: Manifest Destiny, The Unique, And Robinson Crusoe.” Research studies in the Novel 35. 1 (2003 ): 1. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.