Robinson Crusoe Questions and Answers
by Daniel Defoe

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Compare and contrast Robinson Crusoe and Oroonoko. Which character is a stronger example of an enlightened individual?

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Reuben Lindsey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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First, let us consider these quotes from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy regarding the "Enlightenment" movement in history.

[Immanuel] Kant identifies enlightenment with the process of undertaking to think for oneself, to employ and rely on one’s own intellectual capacities in determining what to believe and how to act.

The faith of the Enlightenment—if one may call it that—is that the process of enlightenment, of becoming progressively self-directed in thought and action through the awakening of one’s intellectual powers, leads ultimately to a better, more fulfilled human existence.

In the top quote, we see a focus on acting independently and relying on one's own abilities. The enlightened individual must think and act for himself, regardless of social influence. The bottom quote discusses the process of becoming enlightened by again focusing on being "self-directed."

Oroonoko is the better man. In modern terms, he is certainly more mature and more enlightened in his view...

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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