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Character Sketch of Robinson Crusoe

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Robinson Crusoe is the chief protagonist of the novel “Robinson Crusoe”. He is narrator as well as hero of the autobiographical novel. He is a young chap of 17 of middle class family. He is fond of voyaging. His father wants to see him as a lawyer but the boy had least interest in it.


When his father comes to know that Robinson Crusoe wants to be voyager, he tells his mother that the boy might be happy if he would stay at home but if he goes abroad, he will be the miserable most wretch that was ever born.These words become a source of primary conflict between father's desire and the protagonist’s longing. Anyway this conflict hardly gets staged because he resolved to run away from his home.


Deserting his home and parents, many a times he thinks to go back but fear of humiliation in the eyes of his friends, relatives and acquaintances make him steer ahead. Robinson sets out on a voyage to Guinea. Their ship is looted by pirates and he is enslaved. Having good look, handy knowledge and something inexplicable, the chief pirate kept him at his personal service. He spends two years there as slave and runs away from there when his master sent him, Moley and Xury on fishing. Having got rid of Moley, he with Xury succeeds in making his escape successful. Finally, he gets a ship sailing to Brazil and reaches Brazil with kind cooperation of the captain of that ship.


 He gathers a lot of riches in Brazil from plantation business and slave trade. He wanted to return but following the advice of his neighbour and colleague, he sets sail to South Africa. In the way, a hurricane led them shift into a boat that is capsized by the furious currents of the sea. In this ship wreck, he proved to be the only survivor and by dint of his untiring relentless effort and luck, he embraced an island which apparently looked uninhabited.


The next day, he took a bird’s eye view of the island from the top of the hill and found it completely deserted vastness. He looked at the ship just at a mile and half from him and thought of the wrong decision of the captain who asked them to board into a boat to find some island nearby. Whether it is prudence of Robinson Crusoe or the need of the plot of the novel, our hero of the novel goes to ship and brings lots of things including rifles, powder, bullets, swords, knives, ropes, planks, biscuits, oats, trampoline, clothes,  razors, coins etc to the island because he had discerned that he might have lived there for a long time. He brings them ashore by making an amazing raft with his handy knowledge, resourcefulness and untiring courage.


When he is clear enough that his stay could extend to so many years, he erects a wooden cross and engraves on it ‘I came on Shore here on the 30th of Sept. 1659.’ Not only he went on marking everyday with a scar on the plank, he also made it a fool proof calendar for his record -- one of the chief characteristic of marine masters, people of 18th century and the propounders of neo-colonial system.


He single handedly established English life on the Island. First of all he made his home by erecting a tent in a den. Half part of it was inside the hill-grotto and half of it was out of it. It was further overprotected by another sheet of tent. In front of it, he embeded wooden logs and mast pieces in a semi-circle shape and inter-fastens them with metallic strings etc. Similar to them, he embedded another array of logs and mast pieces firmly fixed in the earth with pointed tops at the distance of just six inches from them. They were also inter-fastened with ropes, metallic pieces and he used ladder instead of a gate. In this way, he built up not a house but a fortress. He dug the inner of the cave further and farther and brought the soil out what he spread out of the cave opening which made the compound a bit higher that the outer part of the fence. He hid the powder in small packets in different places of the cave which had become vast enough then. Building of his house is the finest example of his resourcefulness, intelligence, sense of security, future planning. He sagaciously plants barley, domesticates animals, develops the art of pottery, prepares umbrella, and builds a farm house in the interior of the valley that becomes nice resort in the final episode of betraying ship crew.


He has spent more than 25 years on the island when he finds an imprint of footstep on the sand of the beach. Instead of being happy to find a human being on the wilderness, he becomes sad, scared and obsessed. This anxiety was not because he was misanthrope but because the fellow creature could be his enemy, rival or overpowering creature. He took measures of his security and defense. Later he comes to know about Cannibals. When he finds that cannibals had come there and had eaten away human beings, he resolves to fight with them. Now the same careful and security conscious Robinson Crusoe becomes champion of the dignity of humanity and finally rescues Friday from the Cannibals. Friday, now freed from the Cannibals, becomes servant, friend and loyal soldier of the protagonist. He first teaches him to say him “master”. After a few months, when Friday learns English pretty good, Robins makes him know Christianity, God, Nature and civic sense.


Later both of them rescue two more human victims from Cannibals. After a few months they rescue a captain, his mate and a traveler from the group of the crew of a ship who had been fallen prey to the mutiny of the crew of the ship that anchors nearby the island. In this way, hero of the novel can rightly be called as saviour of so many people with his mind, art, intelligence, bravery and high spirited nature. He behaves like monarch while launching the last strategy of making the captain regain control of the ship. Some people call him a colonial mind but they forget that his heroic work, unparallel help and fool-proof planning demanded and deserved his governing nature at all. 


He gets his moiety from Brazil and reaches his fatherland at the age of 37. He becomes the owner of many thousands Pound Sterling and establishes himself as a successful trader, businessman and managing director. The whole pain and sufferings he passed through relieved when he gets his deserving, multiplied many times, from the plantation business he had left in Brazil. His insolence punished him and turned him to be a man of heroic qualities but his faith in Providence rewarded him with the fruit of his sincere efforts in Brazil.


In short, bravery, steadfastness, self-awareness, prudence, honesty, resourcefulness, unflinching faith, futurist mind of Robinson Crusoe make him a living character of the real life. It becomes more vivid, clear, and likable with the furtherance of the story until the last line of the novel.

Abid Muhammad Hayat Khokhar 12-03-2010

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