When Nine Inch Nails sang “I’d rather die than give you control” they were probably not thinking of Santiago yet the quote speaks of courage somewhat similar to his courage. Santiago, though, has many other qualities besides courage and that’s what Ernest Hemingway tries to display in his novel The Old Man in the Sea. Heminway’s main objective was to display Santiago as an old man who tries to overcome the hardships of a life of fishing without quitting.
Hemingway uses short simple words to describe the old man eaving the reader with the idea that Santiago is a champion. Santiago is a hero because he strives to succeed by catching the great fish and yet he still loves and respects it and finally he knows the importance of fate and luck in any situation and that he can not change it only accept it. Santiago accepts what he has to do to succeed by having to kill what he loves. He had been chasing the greatest of all fish he had ever seen and he was determined to kill it. The problem was that he loved the fish.
Fish, I love you and respect you very much but I will kill you before this day ends. “(p 54) This quote shows Santiago’s feelings toward his opponent, the fish. Not many fishermen will confess their love or respect to a fish and he does not only this but he also states his determination to succeed and that he will kill even what he loves. It takes a great hero to kill what he loves and respects. The respect of the fish is another way Santiago shows his heroism. Even though the fish is his opponent he only speaks kindly of him.
The old man wanted to be a fair fight and he wouldn’t dream of cheating or lessening the fish’s chances. “I wish I could feed the fish, he thought. He is my brother. I must kill him and keep strong to do it. ” (p 59) This quote shows how the old man respects the fish because he tries to keep the battle fair by attempting to give it food. Although the fish receives no food it is not because the old man would not but more likely he could not. He feels the fish to be trying to succeed as much as he and so he calls him his brother, a very high form of regard.
Therefore respect of the opponent is a great characteristic of a hero although there are others. One other is to accept that when fate and luck determine something, it can not be changed. Santiago had his share of good and bad luck. He was lucky when he caught the marlin but unlucky when the sharks ate it. He did a good job controlling his reactions to his fate when very thing was looking unfortunate by always trying his hardest and never giving up. Yet good luck was very important to Santiago
Luck is a thing that comes in many forms and who can recognize her? I would take some though in any form and pay what they asked. (p117) This quote shows the old mans desperation for luck. He has caught a huge fish and it is taken so any form of good luck would have helped him. If there was no luck or fate the old man would have to work exceptionally hard for all he wanted with everything resting on his shoulders. Luck is a relief yet still something you can not change. And so the acceptance of fate and luck is a definite sign of heroism.
In conclusion Santiago is clearly a hero and the hero of The Old Man and the Sea due to his determination to succeed, his love and respect of the marlin and his acceptance of fate and luck. Santiago was just a man tying to prove the others who said he was too old, weak or unlucky wrong by showing his heroism, courage and grace under pressure even when all the odds were against him. Although Santiago had never heard the Nine Inch Nails and probably did not want to, he did relate to it. He was a determined man and not even sharks and magnificent fish could hold him back.