Within both The Tempest by William Shakespeare and Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe there are clear similarities when it comes to the differences between Europeans and people of other nationalities. Although these texts were written by two very different people during two very different time periods, they both still contain a clear European bias. Within The Tempest Caliban represents the native and lower class race, and within Robinson Crusoe Friday represents the same type of class bias. Through the interactions of the European individuals and the two “natives” who represent those colonised these authors are able to paint a vivid picture of how race influenced and continues to influence the world and divides individuals.
In The Tempest Prospero enslaves Caliban and treats him as though he is essentially worthless. Although both these individuals are trapped on the same island, they are portrayed completely differently and lead very different lives. Prospero acts far superior and as though he knows so much more than Caliban simply because he is of more pure European descent. For example, Caliban is taught English because that is clearly the civilized language and considered better than any native language someone may have learned previously. Similarly, in Robinson Crusoe, Friday is treated as a slave after Crusoe saves his life and Crusoe takes it upon himself to completely change Friday’s lifestyle and beliefs. Like Caliban, Friday is also taught English and Crusoe also decides to “instruct him in the knowledge of the true God” (Defoe 158). Crusoe is so convinced that he leads a superior lifestyle that he completely disregards anything Friday has been told his whole life and convinces him to follow the ways of a European. Not only that, he also decides “to clear up this fraud” (Defoe 159) that Friday has been taught his whole life and believed since he was a child.
Not only do these characters decide to “enlighten” the poor naive natives that they encounter, but they also consider the lifestyles of the natives almost pathetic. They look down upon and pity those who are not European and perfectly display the ideals of colonists which was that they were helping the natives become modern and enlightened individuals. All the harm that they did and racism they felt towards others was cloaked in being helpful and moving the rest of the world towards and more modern lifestyle.