A Pride Filled Journey During a hardship, facing reality is very difficult. Yet this is only half the battle. Struggling to fight the force, one’s will eventually overpowers them. Santiago, an old fisherman who has not caught anything for eighty-four days, struggles to fight his pride. A tragic hero is a respectable character who is destined to downfall. Santiago is compared to a tragic hero; his hardships force him to face reality in its cruelest sense. Following Santiago and his hubris throughout the novella, Hemingway depicts hubris to lead to Santiago’s eventual downfall.
Through the glowing streets of Havana, the city of gold, a wistful wind blows on a humble shack. It is small but a lugubrious atmosphere hangs over like the clouds do on a rainy day. Inhabiting the shack, Santiago looms inside. Manolin, a young boy who practically worships Santiago, comes to help him with his needs on every occasion. Manolin is the only person who talks to him because “… [younger] fishermen made fun of the old man […] older fishermen looked at him and were sad” (Hemingway 11).
Santiago is looked down upon by society, but he does not care because he knows one day he will catch his “marlin”. Santiago’s pride shows that he may be old man but he is not a defeated man. On day eighty-five, the birds whistle their regular tunes, the sun shines as brightly as usual, but what makes this day different? Santiago sets out to sea to find fish, the salty staples of the ocean. A couple hours in, Santiago figures out he went out to far.
He catches fish by following schools of bonito and albacore. Santiago realizes “Now is the time to think of only one thing. That which I was born for” (40). Fishing is what he was born to do. His hubris shows allows him to know the reason for his existence or what he is made to do. As his pride carries him out to sea, he leaves his consciousness there as well. Not until he comes back from his adventure does he realize that his hubris carries him out to sea. Santiago’s return was upsetting but admirable.
Santiago’s pride has carried him out to sea, which he realizes as his tragic flaw. But even after giving up on himself, the old man is somewhat hopeful. He relies on the town and trusts the town, which made him who he was, to accept him now. Santiago makes the statement “I live in a good town” (Hemingway 115). He says this out loud not only to the boy but also to himself as well because he wants to believe and he is now hopeful that the town will accept him for who he is after only bringing home only the skeleton.
He is hopeful in the sense that people will sympathize with him and not be judgmental that the fish as a whole was not brought to town. Santiago’s new respect throughout the community shows that even though his pride brought him down his self-respect brought him back up. Santiago’s hubris leads to his downfall as a tragic hero. First, Santiago has proven to be a man that is not defeated, someone who can take charge and do what is meant to be done. Second, his hubris carries him out to sea where he finally knows what he was born to do.
Lastly, Santiago’s new respect in the community shows that his pride may have brought him down but his self-respect brought him back up. The Old Man and the Sea, is the culminating expression of any concern in reflection to Hemingway’s mature view of tragic irony of the man’s fate. Hemingway concludes that Santiago is a tragic hero. Facing reality is hard but this man achieves it. When the forces of nature strike its final attacks, this man was ready for the challenge, very brave for this tragic hero.