Religion in Robinson Crusoe
"Robinson Crusoe" can be read as a simple adventure story, told in the trendy manner of travel books, with their fascinating circumstantial realism, dealing with a rebellious son's disobedience to his father, which, paradoxically, results in Robinson's material success.
The allegorical meaning runs parallel to the exotic story and adds to the depth and originality of the literary work. According to this second reading "Robinson Crusoe" is a sort of spiritual autobiography and an allegory of man's sin, repentance and salvation, thus combining the Bunyanesque with the documentary.
Consistently, at the end of the novel both readings come successfully to a conclusion: when Robinson is physically rescued, and is able to go back to England, but also when he has been spiritually saved, being able to repent of his "original sin", and to re-establish an alliance with his father-God.
Unfortunately, when back to England, his parents have already died, so he will never be able to reconcile with them.
Moreover, in spite of his frequent invocations and signs of repentance, he never shows a feeling of true affection either to his father or to God, but only a feeling of duty, the awareness of breaking an important rule.
Another apparent paradox is the fact that Robinson left his family without their consent because of a feeling of "uneasiness", and a need for adventure and material success. He refused the values of the "middle station of life", which his father highly recommended. But on the desert island Robinson seems to embody the same identity, values, mentality, and religion proclaimed by his father and by the rising merchant classes. This disobedience, as Ian Watt notices, is the dynamic force of capitalism itself, so that Robinson's "original sin" becomes the key factor of modern trade:...