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Utopia in Robison Crusoe

The etymology of this word has its roots in ancient Greek: οὐ ("not") and τόπος ("place") that means "no place". This term was coined by Thomas More, it’s an imaginary island described in his Utopia (1516) as enjoying perfection in law, politics.

There's a pun, probably on purpose, with the English homophone word "eutopia", place of ideal welfare, because they are pronounced the same way.

The concept of Utopia took place in mythological tradition: the Greek poet Hesiod, around the 8th century BC, in his poem “Works and Days”, explained that prior to the present era there were four age of humankind.


The first recorded Utopian proposal is Plato's Republic and we find several examples in literature of all time of Utopia, to the New Atlantis by Francis Bacon and The City of Sun by Tommaso Campanella from 1984 by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.


Utopia in Robinson Crusoe


At first, Crusoe complains about his loneliness but, reflecting the bourgeois value of resourcefulness he begins to build a shelter and all manner of furniture. Exactly halfway through the novel, Crusoe finds a footprint that scares him. It's realize someone's living in the island. He sees a tribal party of so-called "savages". They pratice cannibalism and Crusoe saves one of their victims, which he names Friday (it happened on Friday).

When Robinson takes with him Friday, the novel becomes utopian. The protagonist tries to recreate the social hierarchy of his country on the island, subduing the black youth and implicitly recognizing the superiority of the whites. The English man soon teaches the customs and habits of the British bourgeoisie to the indigenous. Friday becomes a slave converted to Christianity and learns English, his aboriginal name is replaced with a day of the week.

Utopia is realized in the attempt of Robison to impose on a native the western lifestyle, disregarding its origins and its nature. Crusoe from shipwrecked becomes the island's owner and the novel celebrates the values of the puritan mercantile bourgeoisie.

Robinson's behavior seems despotic towards the slave and for this reason many scholars have criticized the work. James Joyce despises the novel considering it the manifesto of utilitarianism.

Actually Defoe doesn’t write a novel to glorify individualism and from the novel emerges a sympathy towards Friday, considered very intelligent and more sensitive than Robinson. Friday inspires also Rosseau in the myth of "Noble Savage".

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