Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe contain, in my opinion, two big dissimilarities. The main characters in each story have personal battles or afflictions that they must, in plain words, deal with. Here is where the differences lie. While Prospero is alienated from the rest of the world on his island; Robinson Crusoe is more separated from humanity. Prospero was forced to stay there with his daughter after attempts were made on his life. (Act I, Scene 2) And somehow or another, he decided to remain on the island for a period of twelve years while hatching his plot of revenge. Perhaps this was a little more feasible for him, being only in partial isolation. This is completely opposite from Robinson Crusoe’s plight: he is stranded on an island in complete isolation due to circumstances beyond his control, and has absolutely no way of getting back to civilization whether he wants to or not. The circumstances which brought Prospero to a state of alienation were contrived, political motives. Robinson Crusoe’s state of separation was brought about by an accidental act of nature—a storm (p. 40).
Another big dissimilarity is that while they are on the island, both men spend their time in vastly different enterprises. Prospero harbors bitter feelings and waits patiently to hatch a grandiose revenge scheme. He uses his only daughter as a key element in the plot, which shows that he is clearly thinking about his agenda and himself only. Robinson Crusoe, however, spends his time of isolation in deep thought. Pensive about his life and his relationship with God, he contemplates that “God’s justice has overtaken [him] . . . and [he] has rejected the voice of Providence.” (p. 83). He goes on into a period of deep introspection and questions “why has God done this to me?” What have I done to be thus used?” (p. 85). In the entire story, he develops his relationship with God and tries to better himself in every task he undertakes—viewing it as a personal or spiritual challenge to constantly improve himself. In this way he maintains his sanity.