A man can be destroyed but cannot be defeated

Do you agree with the view that ‘A man can be destroyed but cannot be defeated?  How is Santiago a hero in Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea?

“The Old Man and the Sea” is a short novel composed by famous American writer Ernest Hemingway in 1951 and distributed in 1952. It was Hemingway’s last huge work of fiction distributed during his lifetime. One of his most famous pieces relates the tale of Santiago, a matured Cuban angler who fights with a monstrous marlin out of sight the Gulf Stream off the bank of Cuba.

“Yes”, I agree with the view that ‘A man can be destroyed but cannot be defeated.

The old man Santiago sailor went out to sea to fish. And with him was a boy named Manolin. Manolin takes care of Santiago and stays with him all the time. They have been waiting in the sea for 84 days to catch fish. At 85 days after Manolin left, he found a fish, and it was a huge fish. Her name is Marilyn. About 18 feet in length. He dragged the fish to the boat and hit the fish on the head with his fishing tool.

The Old Man and the Sea

At one point, the fish died from the tool. The fish was bleeding from the head. If there is any kind of bleeding in the sea, the smell of blood can bring the sharks around, but there is no exception. Santiago already knew the sharks would come running now.

And that is that the Santiago fishing tool fell into the water while trying to hit the shark. He could not save it. What he thought happened the very next night. Many sharks came after smelling the fish’s blood. So many sharks came together and he had nothing to fish for. He did not know what to do with the fish.

“A man can be destroyed but not defeated,” said Santiago in the “Old Man and the Sea”. Throughout the novel, the true assertion is alluded to. Santiago is physically destroyed at the end of the game, but he is not defeated emotionally. Santiago’s bravery and pride propel him on throughout the narrative, even when it appears that all hope is lost, yet he never gives up. To thoroughly ruin or spoil something is to destroy it.

This devastation was felt in Santiago. It began with an 84-day period in which he was unable to catch any fish. His passion and pride kept him from succumbing. He was physically devastated during the encounter with the marlin. He had the option of saving his life by releasing the fish, but he chose not to.


Santiago the hero in The Old Man and the Sea

An old and very experienced fisherman Santiago, the protagonist of The Old Man and the Sea, embodies the Hemingway code hero because he exhibits honor, courage, and perseverance in the face of tragedy, stress, suffering, defeat, and even death.

A man can be destroyed, but the key point is that even if this physical annihilation occurs, that guy cannot be destroyed, because defeat means the end of one’s chances of winning. a man’s mental state of not allowing his inner pride to crumble.

The never say die mentality and a will to achieve goals even in the most difficult of circumstances. In this notion, Old Santiago represents himself as a hero by not accepting defeat.


by Rabby Sharif Ador


Also read: Relationship between gods and mortals in Iliad