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The Old Man And The Sea By Ernest Hemingway: Santiago, The Man Of Many Roles

1980 words - 8 pages

Santiago: A Man of Many RolesYou know those people who you love and your mom hates? How you respect them yet they are despised by your mom? Why do your opinions of them differ? It is because of the perspective that you see them with. Your mom sees them as extremely dangerous because they ride motorcycles, wear leather jackets, and have a million tattoos, but you see them as incredibly fun because that is what your generation has come to accept. In Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago is a man who is seen differently through different perspectives. Santiago can be seen as himself, through the perspective of a simple reader who is not looking for a deep, concealed significance; a hero, through the perspective of a Greek tragedy/epic novelist; a saint, through the perspective of a religious cleric; or a parent, through the perspective of a naturalist.Santiago can be seen as himself in a simple reader's point of view. According to Leonard Unger, Santiago's message, "while a man can grow old and be wholly down on his luck, he can still dare, stick to the rules, persist when he is licked, and thus by the manner of his losing, win his victory" (256), signifies Santiago's story. He loses his luck for catching fish, but still dares to continue fishing, persisting in catching the marlin. Even though he did not manage to bring it home whole, he is nonetheless victorious because he did all he could to succeed and ended up catching his great fish. The story may, on the simplest level, be the tale of a man out at sea and his battle with the awesome power of nature, and how it will often win outright over the man (Grif). A matador battles with nature's power and Santiago can be related to a matador. A matador battles a bull while Santiago battles a fish, the matador with a sword and Santiago with a harpoon (Baker 245). They both have pride, skill, and knowledge of their craft, allowing them to defeat death; although the moral of The Old Man and the Sea is courage and skill are not always enough to win. The principle of life is carried to its final step through Santiago. He reveals a definitive statement about the role of life in death (Magill 1347). On his adventure at sea, he thinks about his death, as memories of his dead wife play in and out of his mind. While on his quest for the fish, "he becomes like the sea, and like the sea he endures, he is dying as the year is dying, but his death won't end the cycle; he will continue to exist as part of the sea" (Locher 1339). Then again, the book may not have any symbolism in it as its author says:There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks nobetter and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is [not true]. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know. (Old Man)Although no symbolism may be intended, it was found anyway. Santiago can be seen as a hero in a Greek tragedy/epic novelist's point...

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