After the disappointment of The Tempest, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Robinson Crusoe. I’ve always been fascinated by this adventurous tales of survival, contemplating my actions if I were in the same situation. However, I found Crusoe to be almost too perfect a character, the author almost trying to make his one flaw that of his religious ineptitude. Whilst I appreciate the significance of religion at the time, and now, Crusoe’s life upon the island appeared really to have no qualms for the first twenty-five years, with the exception of his divine epiphany. Continuing along this line of his lack of flaws, when compared to many other tales of survival, such as Castaway with Tom Hanks, there was always a certain amount of mental degredation, the protagonist gradually losing his civility and becoming more and more animalistic in nature. I feel that this aspect presents a far more real version of a castaway. Crusoe does remark that he longs for human companionship at a point, but aside from merely mentioning it, the concept does not really present itself. Humans do possess a basic need for interaction, thus explaining the certain level of lunacy or madness that possesses many upon being locked in solitary confinement. Crusoe’s character just seemed unrealistic.
As well, I also noted that Crusoe’s seemingly savage state of being appeared far more civilized than his beloved European society. Although his island lacks modern technology, and all the fancy gadgets, Crusoe’s lifestyle was worlds away from his homeland. In the so-called “Modern” society, his human counterparts acted far more savagely than Crusoe during his quest for survival. The greed and selfishness that corrupts our world, through pointless means, such as gold or paper, really have no significance in life, yet we spend a majority of our lives devoted to it. Crusoe’s simplistic lifestyle presented a far more rational one than this world of his and ours, where we all allow ourselves to be slaves to the almighty profit.
Finally, it irritated me how Crusoe exerted kingly status upon himself over his island. It was just such a supremacist viewpoint. How on Earth does he know that he is the first to inhabit this island? The natives probably have been utilizing it for far longer than Crusoe’s entire lifespan, just not continuously inhabiting it. As well, why must he declare himself Lord over all those he saves? It really appeared a far more Prospero-like option, finding everyone indebted to him. The only reason I can possibly think of lies in a want for Defoe to express the nature of European explorers during this time, claiming any land and exerting authority where there was no right for authority to be given.