9. Santiago, A Pitiable
A Tragic Hero
The Novel as a Tragedy
Justify the End of The Novel
A tragedy is a tale of a great man who suffers much pain and distress. The hero is defeated by circumstances, but he does not accept his defeat and goes on struggling. In this way he wins moral victory over physical defeat. The Old Man And The Sea is an exciting and thrilling story of an old fisherman fighting desperately against the forces of nature. It ends on a note of pathos. He goes far out in the sea to catch a big fish. He succeeds in hooking a huge marlin. He succeeds in killing that fish after a tiresome struggle of forty eight hours. He lashes it with his skiff and sets sail for home. After sometime, the dead marlin is attacked by the sharks. He fights with them hard. He is feeling a cramp on his left hand. He is badly tired. His back is sore. He has nothing to eat except raw fish. His fight with sharks is a tragic incident. They eat away all the meat of the marlin and he is left with nothing but only a skeleton. The old man suffers a lot during the course of his adventure. His sorrows and sufferings are endless, which makes him a tragic and pitiable hero and wins our sympathies at the end of the novel. We pity his lot but admire his heroic spirit. Some critics and readers have objected this tragic end of the novel. This novel is surely a tragedy and its end is convincing and appealing. No other end can fulfill the purpose of the novel. 263
10. Santiago as a Code Hero
Hemingway’s code heroes face the pressure, violence and corruption with courage and endurance. They are men of action rather than men of theory.
In the novel The Old Man and The Sea, Santiago goes too far out for a really big fish and faces possible death. He is very old, has little food, little strength, and can no longer recognize the star patterns which once guided him. The marlin is strong, determined and weighs over one thousand and five hundred pounds. Santiago struggles with it until his hands are cut and bleeding; his vision blurs and he feels dizzy. Yet he stays with the fish. He is alone; no one is there to help him. He has only his courage and determination for company. He fights with dignity against great odds. Though he loses the marlin, he survives and wins a moral victory for himself by daring the sea and the great fish.
Santiago is a perfect code hero of Hemingway because he faces all the hardships with courage and grace. He does not become panic when he has no food. He renews his strength by eating the raw tuna. Nor does he is panic when his hand cramps, he curses it and uses it as best he can. Santiago stands for the moral code of life. For him disappointment is a great sin. He is an embodiment of endurance. He proves that a man can be destroyed but not be defeated. He shows that what a man can do and what a man can endure. He is a code hero in the novel because he displays the qualities of courage, dignity, honour, dedication and endurance. (276)