Eighteenth Century / Robinson Crusoe

Servitude, The Bible, and Crusoe

I found Robinson Crusoe to be a largely religious book. It was a very common theme through-out the course of the novel in one aspect or another. Although, the issue I found the most interesting was the role of servitude both in the context of Crusoe’s dealings with others as well as in his own inner musings on the issue of religion. In some sense, all mankind is faced with some sort of servitude; whether it is religious, cultural, or economic. We all have things that make us feel bound in some way or that we seek to serve in some fashion.

In Crusoe, we see this issue of servitude from the beginning of the novel. This servitude though, has its levels in the book that play out in a hierarchy that ranges from the slave, to man, all the way up to God himself. We see this play out in his relationships with the slave Xury and with Friday. Later, we even see this when they save the Captain and restore him to his ship. The Captain and the crew that are saved, become indebted to him.

It is ironic though that it is through his servitude, or his giving himself over to religion, that he finds a sense of well-being and deliverance in the way he views his hardships. Crusoe begins to look for and find the good and the “reason” behind his hardships. He finds that on the island he realized that “they hav always something to be thankful for, and sometimes are nearer their Deliverance than they imagine; nay, are even brought to their Deliverance by the Means by which they seem to be brought to their Destruction.”

Does Crusoe truly find a servitude in him for God or are his musings just those of a man desperate for some measure of hope? And how, if at all, does this element of servitude serve him and the others in the novel to find their salvation?

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One thought on “Servitude, The Bible, and Crusoe

  1. Bridget, I like how you mainly talked about religion in your post. I wrote my post before finishing the book on the subjects that stood out to me the most. Religion however, is one of them an I did at that time felt like Crusoe very much so was using religion to his own humanly advantage. but as i continued to read the book it became harder for me to see if religion still played that role or if he was truly changing into a different person due to the dramatic changes that had occurred in his life. Crusoe towards the end of the book seems like a changed man from the Crusoe in the beginning but I still have doubts. what do you think?

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