Santiago is a fisherman lives in a village. Santiago fishes for a living. He has to go with out a fish. Fisherman considers him ‘Salao’. Our first impression of Santiago is that of a failure. But as we go through the novel we find a man who is resolute, courageous, Strong and undefeated. This old man is thin and gaunt. There are deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. He has brown blotches on his cheeks. His hands have deep creased scars from handling heavy fish. Every thing about him is old except his eyes that are of the color of the sea and are cheerful and undefeated.
Santiago is the best fisherman of all. Santiago is an idealist. He considers fishing is more than occupation. He thinks that it is a way of life. He is conscious of the moods of the weather and sensitive to sunrise. He is well aware of the far off hills. He knows the thrill of the contest between man and fish. He is conscious of the patience of man in front of the sea. He believes in love, loyalty and respect. Santiago is man of determination and resolution. After eighty days failure, he decides to far out to catch a big fish. He succeeds in catching a big marlin but he losses the battle at the hands of sharks. He is ready to fight beyond the limits of his strength. We can’t say him defecated as he has gone on trying. He is morally victorious. His belief in that “the man can be destroyed but not defeated” sets up him a man of strong determination. His resolution is clearly described in his long struggle with the marlin. He has unlimited will power and self-confidence that enables him to win victory over his adversary. The old man is very patient and courageous person. He is determined to “stay with you until I am dead”. He tells the fish “ I will kill you dead before this day ends”. He shows himself to be a seasoned and a skilful fisherman. He knows the sea and its creature very well. He judges the behavior of the marlin and of the shark very well. He believes in the techniques and skill. He says, “It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact”.
Novel shows Santiago a Christ like figure. He is ready to endure the pain. He belongs to a category of “good man”. He is very humble. When mandolin that he is the best fisherman, Santiago says “No, I know others better”. His pride has been gone for a long time when he defeats the marlin. The humility remains with his immense fatigue. Santiago is very compassionate. He loves the creature of the sea, the flying fish, the green turtles and the hawksbill “with their elegances and speed”. Porpoises delight him. They are good. “They are our brothers like the flying fish”. Santiago is very simple man who doesn’t have to lie or boast about his fishing successes. He says all about himself truly. He doesn’t have the habit to blame the currents or winds for far his failures. He keeps on fishing confidently.
He is optimistic by temperament. He has strong faith in success and confidence in future. He is the man of common sense. His prudence is his “ trick”. Santiago, like words worth’s leach-gatherer, acquires a high dignity. Both these characters belong to the gallery of immortals.