Internal and External Conflict in "The Old Man and the Sea" Essay

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Nature is man’s greatest struggle besides himself. Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea constantly endures struggles against nature the affect him externally and internally. There are many examples of the hardships of man versus nature that Santiago endures. Santiago struggles with nature in order to catch the giant marlin in the Gulf Stream. He also struggles with himself and his abilities that have collapsed with his aging body. Santiago also faces struggles with the shark that attacks his prized marlin. The story has more beneath the surface with many layers of internal and external struggle that interconnect, and the battle that will be fought by all, physically and psychologically. Santiago is at odds with nature because he…show more content…
Santiago feels remorse in catching the great fish. He "treats" it with respect and takes no joy in the catch, knowing that the fish is a noble example of nature as is he. He knows that he must catch the great fish in order to change his luck and earn respect again. Santiago is a man past his prime, a man who lives happily in his dreams of the beaches and the lions. While struggling to capture fish and break his bad luck streak, Santiago struggles internally with the old age that is creeping over him and changing the profession he once dominated. While trying to capture the large marlin, Santiago catches the worse of his old age when his hands repeatedly cramp and cause him to struggle furthermore. Santiago is continuously ridiculed by younger fishermen who know of the old man’s age and laugh at his fishing skills. Santiago knows that going too far out into open sea will produce even more difficult conditions that his aging abilities cannot handle. When he goes out to sea every day, he elects to face the challenges of the sea, and its creatures. "Fish that you were; I am sorry that I went too far out. I ruined us both." His remorse at having risked the fish to the sharks is additionally painful because he had such respect for the fish, and also because he feels that this was, in many ways, his last chance. Santiago’s age affects his catch when, because of the encumbrance of the
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