Sin Punishment and Repentance in Robinson Crusoe By Daniel Defoe


Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is one of the classics of English fiction which presents a powerful imaginative adventure story. It is the account of a seaman who was shipwrecked and spent twenty-eight years on a desert island. However the novel Robinson Crusoe, it is not merely a fanciful story rather it allegorically treats the theme of sin, punishment and repentance in striking manner. Robinson Crusoe commits a sin of disobedience and as a result he gets punishment.

Finally he attains salvation through the recognition of sin and repentance. Through an analyze of Robinson Crusoe’s life, would like to clarify the theme of sin, punishment and repentance.  

sin punishment and repentance in robinson crusoe
Cover for Adventures of Robinson Crusoe — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Robinson Crusoe Sin

Robinson’s sin is caused by his foolish inclination of wandering abroad. This inclination of “rambling thoughts” caused him to defy his father who is God’s natured representative in the family. His father wanted him to be a lawyer. However, Robinson loved to imagine himself as a “seafaring man”. He wanted to go to sea journey against the will of his father. His father wanted that Robinson Crusoe would lead a middle class life.

According to his father, sea journey is suitable only for poor and aristocratic class. But all advice of his father became vain. One day Robinson Crusoe fled away from home by disobeying his father’s advices. He was at this time just twenty years old and made great mistakes.

By undertaking a sear journey to London Robinson abandoned his duty, defied the good councils of his parents and ignored to ask the blessing of God. It is a fateful event in the life of Robinson Crusoe. As he says in the following ways:

“I counseled neither father or mother any more……without asking God’s blessing”.

While heading towards London, the ship feel under a violent storm. Robinson then realized that it was the punishment of God that other storm he will not got to sea and return home. However when the storm subside, he forgets all his repentance. This is another example of sin.

Robinson Crusoe Repentance

Robinson terms that his sin is original sin because of his disobedience of God. Thus his story echoes the story of Adam and Eve in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Adam and Eve commit sin of disobedience by eating the forbidden fruit. As a result, God punishes them by expelling from Paradise. Similarly, Robinson is punished for his sin. Thus there is a sense that no sinner can go unpunished. Again when he sails to Guinea for the second time, the Moorish pirates took him to he Prison. There he is made slave of the Moorish captain. This his sin brings misery and agony for him. He releases that he is fated to suffer as he says in the following ways in this novel:

“But all my ill fate pushed me on now

With obstinacy that nothing could resist”

Again Robinson Crusoe commits sin of disobedience and pride while he was in Brazil. There he abandons the middle station of life, which according to his father is approved by God. Robinson intends to become rich in an overnight.

Solitary Sojourn or Punishment of Robinson Cruose

Robinson, the solitary sojourn on the desolate island suffers extremely from the sense of loneliness like the Ancient Mariner of S.T Coleridge . Robinson cries in on the desolate island and says:

“I had a great reason to consider in determination of Heaven that in desolate place and in this desolate manner I should end my life”

After he submits himself to the will of God, Crusoe begins solace and comforts in the Island. He realizes that God has sanctioned his repentance and blessed him. He says in the following ways in this novel.

“My repentance was accepted and that

God had yet mercy in store for me”

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