COLONIALISM AND CAPITALIST IDEOLOGY IN ROBINSON CRUSOE
Keywords:ideology, colonialism, capitalism, Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
This paper will aim to analyse the ways in which Robinson Crusoe corresponds with the ideology of early colonial capitalism which was burgeoning in Defoe’s time, and of which he was a great proponent. Arguably, the novel presents the worldview of the flourishing capitalist class to which Defoe belonged, especially concerning the matters of trade, entrepreneurship, and colonial rule. This is particularly present in Crusoe’s actions upon becoming shipwrecked, which embody the Protestant ethics of hard work, and also in the way he observes the island as his colonial dominion and Friday as his natural servant. The paper will seek to describe how the novel illustrates the economic background which leads to colonialism, and how the two give rise to a particular ideology which was present not just in Defoe’s time, but in various shapes survives until today. For that purpose, the paper will rely on the way in which Terry Eagleton views and defines ideology, in the hope of giving an insight into the interplay of material conditions and ideology in the novel.
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