The Old Man and the Sea : The symbolism of the Marlin In the literary fiction, The Old Man and the Sea, written by Ernest Hemingway, creates a battle between a fisherman and a marlin, presenting the fisherman as the ideal man. The successful fisherman, Santiago, sets out onto the sea to find his big break, in this case he encountered the marlin. The battle between Santiago and the marlin was much greater than a fisherman trying to catch a large fish. The marlin caught by the fisherman, symbolizes Communion, crucifixion, and redemption. The marlin has conveyed symbolism of Christ and Communion, making a connection to the symbolic ritual of The Last Supper. The main battle created a stronger connection between the fisherman and marlin when the fight for survival lasted for three days, leaving the unsuccessful fisherman with a sense of pride. When Santiago is taking his prized treasure back to his community, the old man contemplates his worthiness for killing the magnificent beast. “How many people will he feed, he thought. But are they worthy to eat him” (Hemingway 75)? The old man realizes his love and admiration for the great fish, but will not forgive himself for the sin he has committed. His internal conflict of the marlin’s death makes him question his worthiness of being a fisherman. “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends” (50). His intimate thoughts toward the fish showing his love and respect for the ocean but for him having the title of a fisherman, he has to bring the last seconds to the marlin’s life. Overall, Santiago brings the realization of life and death and the difference between loving and killing, finding a new meaning of worthiness, similar to the exchange of communion. The apparent image of the crucified Christ are associated with the death of the marlin through suffering and defeat. The crucifixion image Hemingway has created, is a symbolic piece between Santiago and Christ. The fisherman “felt the pull of the fish and then felt with his hand the progress of the skiff through the water” (89). Santiago doesn’t flinch at the pain when the fishing line cuts through his hands, resembling Christ’s mark of disgrace through his bloody palms. “Fishing kills me exactly as it keeps me alive” (106). The pain he is feeling is killing Santiago, which is an internal feeling but the creatures he is killing keeps him and many others alive causing an external feeling or condition. Hemingway portrays the old fisherman as the crucified saint when the sharks arrive to strip away the marlin. When Santiago uses the harpoon, the shot is similar to the sound of the nails being driven into the hands of Christ. Moreover, the marlin creates a feeling of redemption to the successful fisherman, ending his unlucky streak of eighty-four days. The death of the marlin does not show defeat but rather shows redemption toward the fisherman, creating a sense of hope for Santiago. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated” (103). The old man makes the comparison between destruction and defeat, making the audience question if he is defeated or destroyed by his pain or pride. Santiago saw the marlin as a great loss, but the sharks took the fisherman’s glory when they stripped away the marlin for its flesh. The fisherman’s view of losing the marlin and the battle against the sharks creates the vision of the glass being half empty, in a rhetorical structure. “He is beautiful and noble and knows no fear of anything” (106). The fisherman brings to realization that they are respectful, beautiful, and fearless creatures that should be feared by him and the other fishermen. Hemingway points out the shifting tension between life and death theoretically. The biblical allusions presented by Hemingway, such as, Communion, crucifixion, and redemption, creates a deeper meaning of the battle and connections as a whole, through self-worthiness and Christ. The fisherman’s dignity, worthiness, and endurance is shown through the length of the battle against the marlin, showing his calling, independent action, and will to follow opportunities.