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The Old Man and the Sea Essay

In the novel “The Old Man and the Sea” the main character, Santiago is a tragic hero with a tragic flaw. His hubris ultimately leads him to triumph for a few reasons. Santiago’s hubris helps him to develop into a passionate, optimistic and determined individual, this is what ultimately helps lead him to his triumph. Santiago was not only proud but he was also very passionate in fishing. This is evident in his statement, “I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the bone spur in his heel. (68). This quote is indirect however it displays Santiago’s passion. It is evident that Santiago’s passion for fishing derives from his long history of engaging in the activity as well as his desire to imitate his hero, The Great DiMaggio. Santiago has a strong desire to be like DiMaggio due to the fact that he is able to remain passionate and successful in his baseball career despite that he is suffering from a painful heel spur.

Santiago’s passion helps him because this passion is accompanied with determination and this in itself ultimately helps lead to Santiago’s triumph. Santiago’s desire to imitate The Great DiMaggio leads Santiago to develop determination within himself, and this determination is similar to that of The Great Dimaggio. Santiago’s determination is shown through this quote “It encouraged him to talk because his back had stiffened in the night and it hurt truly now. ” (55).

This proves that Santiago is determined because he has been hunting the same fish for days now and although this trip takes all his strength, he is able to push through it. Santiago’s endurance and perseverance is also displayed in this quote “His left hand was still as tight as the gripped claws of an eagle. It will uncramp though, he thought, surely it will uncramp to help my right hand… it must uncramp” (64). Here it becomes evident that Santiago is determined because he has to fight through the pain in order to continue fishing. I’m tireder than I have ever been, he thought, and now the trade wind is rising. ” (89). This quote shows that despite his weariness and weather conditions, like his hero DiMaggio and any hero in general, every individual must endure harsh experiences in order to succeed and to accomplish one’s goals. This also helps Santiago in the long run because his determination spurred optimism, this ultimately helps lead him to triumph. From the beginning of this novel, Santiago’s pride, passion, and determination is accompanied with optimism as well.

Santiago’s optimism is evident in the quote “‘Eighty-five is a lucky number,’the old man said. ‘How would you like to see me bring one in that dressed out over a thousand pounds? ’” (16). This clearly shows Santiago’s optimism about the journey he is about. This quote also reflects Santiago’s pride due to the fact that after forty days without any success in catching fish, the young boy’s, Manolin’s, parents say that the old man is salao, also known as the worst form of luck.

This is extremely detrimental to the old man’s pride, therefore he wants to prove that he is not salao, so with optimism he is able to bandage his wounds to become even more passionate and determined than ever before. Although at the end of the novel Santiago does not return home with the full fish, his pride, passion, determination and optimism ultimately leads him to triumph because he uses these qualities to succeed in catching the Marlin.

He is able to prove himself to those who doubt him and have no faith in him throughout the entire journey, including his fellow fishermen. Santiago’s journey proves to his peers as well as himself that any obstacle that is faced with with perseverance and endurance is conquerable. Santiago’s hubris accompanied by passion, determination and optimism resemble the characteristics of a tragic hero with a tragic flaw as well. Therefore Santiago is a tragic hero with a tragic flaw.

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