Most of the critics disagree on this that whether “The Old Man and the Sea” is a tragedy or not. It is difficult for an average reader to settle this problem. But most of the criteria’s of tragedy from Aristotle to the present, has same relevance with this novel. It is a fact that Hemingway’s earlier novel show himself more or less a nihilist, a man who finds the universe to be governed by arbitrary forces and who depicts man as alienated from society and as suffering grievous losses without shame or reason. But “The Old Man and the Sea” is different, different as regards the universe it depicts and as regards it hero.
Throughout the novel
is given heroic qualities, like boy adds, “There are many good fishermen and some great ones. But there is only you.” Hemingway depicts the character of Santiago as a skilled craftsman. He didn’t believe on luck, but on exactness. In “The Old Man and the Sea”, Santiago has faced many crucial circumstances which had given to him a quizzical place where he felt that his existence seems temporary; like his unfortunate condition is not catching a single fish from the last eighty five days, his battle with Marlin and also his battle with the scavenger sharks. Santiago
So the whole novel showed the same tradition which Sophocles, Melville, and Conrad used in their novels and dramas. “The Old Man and the Sea” is surely a tragedy, though this tragedy is no longer bleak and accidental; this tragedy is purposive.