Robinson Crusoe

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

The Portuguese Captain Character Analysis

A kind, generous captain who rescues Robinson and Xury off the coast of Africa. He takes Robinson to Brazil for free, gives him money for some of his cargo, and helps bring Robinson's English money back to Brazil. At the end of the novel, Robinson is able to visit the old captain in Lisbon and repay his kindness.

The Portuguese Captain Quotes in Robinson Crusoe

The Robinson Crusoe quotes below are all either spoken by The Portuguese Captain or refer to The Portuguese Captain. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Robinson Crusoe published in 2003.
Chapter 4 Quotes

He offered me also sixty pieces of eight more for my boy Xury, which I was loth to take; not that I was unwilling to let the captain have him, but I was very loth to sell the poor boy's liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own. However, when I let him know my reason, he owned it to be just, and offered me this medium, that he would give the boy an obligation to set him free in ten years, if he turned Christian; upon this, and Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the captain have him.

Related Characters: Robinson Crusoe (speaker), Xury, The Portuguese Captain
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

If there's anything we've learned about Robinson through the first few chapters of the book, it's that he prizes his freedom and individuality above nearly all else. This is what has motivated him to go to sea and what has propelled him to escape - of course, with the help of Xury. Robinson seems to grant, at least implicitly, that there is a massive contradiction between wanting freedom for himself and agreeing to sell off someone else into slavery: this is why he makes clear that he was so reluctant to take away the boy's "liberty." 

Still, Robinson cannot be that reluctant, since he soon agrees to the captain's terms. He seems to justify these terms to himself based on the captain's agreement to set Xury free if he converts to Christianity (though only in ten years) - which for him is significant enough to counteract any other questions. Although Robinson has spent a great deal of time with Xury, and though he seems to really enjoy his company, he fails to consider the boy, who is not from England, as a person with the same hopes, fears, and human dignity as himself.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Robinson Crusoe quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire Robinson Crusoe LitChart as a printable PDF.
Robinson crusoe.pdf.medium

The Portuguese Captain Character Timeline in Robinson Crusoe

The timeline below shows where the character The Portuguese Captain appears in Robinson Crusoe. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
...which turned out to be a Portuguese vessel. The Portuguese took them aboard and the Portuguese captain promised to take Robinson to Brazil for free. (full context)
Chapter 4
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
The Portugese captain bought Robinson's small boat from him. He offered to buy Xury, as well, but Robinson... (full context)
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon
Robinson had a safe voyage to Brazil and the Portuguese captain gave him money for some of his cargo. Robinson lived for some time on a... (full context)
Advice, Mistakes, and Hindsight Theme Icon
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon
...soon found that he needed help working the land and regretted selling Xury to the Portuguese captain , but says that it is no surprise that he made a mistake, as was... (full context)
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Strangers, Savages, and the Unknown Theme Icon
The kind Portuguese captain offered to have some of Robinson's money in England sent to Lisbon, so that he... (full context)
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
...arranged for people to look over his plantation and wrote a will, making the kind Portuguese captain his heir. Robinson departed on this new voyage on September 1st, 1659, the same ill-fated... (full context)
Chapter 25
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
...to learn what had happened with his land in Brazil. There, he found the old Portuguese captain who had rescued him so long ago, who informed him that his plantation was doing... (full context)
Society, Individuality, and Isolation Theme Icon
Contentment vs. Desire and Ambition Theme Icon
The Portuguese captain promised that Robinson would get his rightful fortune back, and Robinson thought of going over... (full context)
Christianity and Divine Providence Theme Icon
...for the care of a doctor. The first thing he did was to repay the Portuguese captain for his kindness and generosity, saying that it was because of him, as well as... (full context)