Robinson Crusoe is a very religious albeit waivering man. He has a strong sense of faith and self but often rebukes or even ignores the notion of God all together. He thanks God for some things in life and boasts in himself about other things. In the beginning of his life his father offers him a nice middle class life. All Robinson Crusoe has to do is accept it and he will live a comfortable life without worry for money or things. Robinson however yearns for an adventurous life at sea which his parents forbid.
He disregards them and runs away with a friend and hops on board a ship. After this trip he thinks about all the consequences betraying his father has brought me and refers to his leaving by talking about the “evil influence which carried me first away from my father’s house. ” Mckeon comments on all this saying: “On his first sea voyage, Robinson, in mortal fear, bitterly berates himself for “the breach of my duty to God and my Father. ” Before this the narration of his early life has been relatively free of religious injunction. He does seem very religious when upon reaching the island after the shipwreck his first action is “to look up and thank God that my life was saved in a case wherein here was some minutes before scarce any room to hope. ” However it is not long till he is boasting in himself and not the Lord for things that happen on the island. Crusoe seems to take on a kinglike mentality over the island. This mentality is brought to the forefront when he erects a cross and devotes it to himself.
After a particularly trying time on the island, where he is sick and has a hallucination of an angel threatening him for not repenting of his sins, he begins to embrace his faith and God again. After drinking some rum he comes across a verse telling him to cry out to God in times of trouble. This particular passage touches him deep inside and seems to have a lasting effect on his faith unlike earlier times in his life. He begins fervently studying the new testament of the bible every day. He begins to repent of his earlier life and all the wrongs he had committed against God and others.
As Michael McKeon says in his article Defoe and the naturalization of desire: Robinson Crusoe: “At this point, Robinson’s “load,” like that of Bunyan’s Christian, falls from his shoulders because he has learned, like Edward Coxere, to spiritualize his island prison as the prison of the world herebelow. ” In other words he is beginning to see the island as a more spiritual place were no events are random but rather happen for a reason like the earthquake, the seedlings he finds or even his illness. Nothing is pointless or without reason to him now, God is in control of all these things and events.
McKeon talks about Robinson’s thought on mobility at this time saying: “Physical mobility is reconceived in spiritual terms, as movement both “upward” and “inward” : after his dream of the avenging angel he realizes that since leaving home he has not “one thought that so much as tended either to looking upwards toward God, or inwards towards a reflection upon my ways. ” He continues to look at his current situation as punishment for earlier sins in his life. Most of these punishments or consequences he believes are due to his committing of his “original sin. His “original sin” is his betraying of what his father wanted which he looks back on as breaking the commandment to “honor thy mother and father. ” Mckeon goes on to discuss Robinson’s spiritual conversion and change on the island saying: “Robinson’s island conversion depends upon a new-found ability to spiritualize his situation, to detect and interpret the signs of God’s presence in his life on the island. As he explains it, the pleasures of this presence do not only compensate for the absence of human society. They also alter his understanding of his own desires, of what it is he really wants. ”
He is referring to is Robinson’s self reflection where he reminisces of what he could have had. He thinks of the nice comfortable middle life he could be enjoying, but he thanks God saying he might be happier in this solitary condition. He continues to say he had neither “ lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life. I had nothing to covet; for I had all that I was now capable of enjoying. ” Robinson talks like he has no wants or desires for the world or material things anymore. At one point he begins to veer a little off course and start to get the king of the island mentality again.
It is most prevalent when he gets the animals together for dinner. This “little family dinner” is bothering because he seems to see himself as God over these animals. While Crusoe does become a more religious man he still has his faults with his faith. As when he finds the corn he thanks God for his grace and mercy, but later on chalks it up to mere chance and luck. He also has a demigod view of himself over the island. He often refers to himself as lord and king of the island. He feels as if he controls all and all things belong to him. He erects a cross as a sort of self alter to mark his days on the island.
He also looks back at certain events where when they happened he thanked God but now looks back with disdain such as his landing on the island. When he first lands he thanks God for sparing him but later on looks back on it as a terrible thing referring to it “unhappy anniversary of my landing. ” He later refers to the devil when he finds the footprint. He is frightened thinking that the supernatural evil being is walking on the island. He however finds comfort in two scriptures Psalms 50:15 “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. and Psalms 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. ”
Mckeon best embodies Robinson’s inner struggle in his article saying: “Remarking on “how many various shapes affrightened imagination represented things to me in,” Robinson passes rapidly through several interpretations of that print: that it is his own fancy; the work of the devil; the mark of a savage from the mainland; even that it “might be a meer Chimera of his own; and that this foot might be the print of his own foot”. When he first meets Friday he takes on a God-servant relationship with him. The first thing he teaches Friday is to call him master. He rules over Friday and controls him. He later shoots a bird which amazes Friday who doesn’t understand the gun, so when Friday leaves he hurriedly reloads the gun so as to not let Friday see its gunpowder and not him. Mckeon best summarizes the relationship between Robinson and Friday stating: “When Robinson “saves” Friday from the cannibals, he becomes his deliverer.
As God has communicated with Robinson, so Robinson speaks to Friday by “making signs to him. ” As God tames Robinson, so Robinson now tames this brute, and he has hope that he has been “made an instrument under providence to save” not just the life but “the soul of a poor savage. ” Friday, for his part makes ‘all the signs to me of subjection, servitude and submission imaginable, to let me know, how he would serve me as long as he liv’d. ”” Now that he has people and servants under him his king like mentality just grows increasingly.
He shows this saying: “My island was now peopled, and I thought my self very rich in subjects; and it was merry reflection which I frequently made, how like a king I look’d. first of all the whole country was my own meer property; so that I had an undoubted right of dominion. 2dly, my people were perfectly subjected: I was absolute Lord and law-giver; they all owed their lives to me, and were ready to lay down their lives, if there had been an occasion of it, for me. ”
He begins to tell Friday about the Christian God and is impressed with how easily Friday relates God to his own supernatural being. Friday has a harder time understand why if there is a God why he allows the devil to exist and Crusoe in a moment of rare humility admits he is not sure and is a man of more “sincerity than knowledge”. He shows even more understanding of faith when he spares the natives questioning who has the “authority or call . . . to pretend to be judge and executioner upon these men as criminals. ”
Crusoe’s faith grows stronger than ever when he returns to easily find his fortune and that it has multiplied greatly like manna from heaven. He thanks God and even compares himself to Job saying “I might well say now, indeed, that the latter end of Job was better than the beginning. ” Crusoe’s faith changes greatly throughout the book. He begins a waivering catholic and ends a devout protestant. He starts only recognizing God about certain things to later ignore that recognition, but by the end of the book he looks at all things as controlled by God and not man.