Question # 5: “The fish is Santiago’s friend and enemy at the same time.” Discuss and explain the statement.
Answer: In fact Santiago, the old fisherman, is both compassionate and cruel towards the fish, Marlin. Obviously, attitude towards the marlin is that of a benevolent-cruel fisherman.
Santiago’s adventure and fight with the big fish brings to light that the fish (Marlin) is the old man’s both friend and enemy at the same time. The following textual references while his struggle with the marlin, are noteworthy.
I. ‘Fish ————– I love you and respect you very much but I will kill you before the day ends.’
II. ‘The fish is my friend too.’
- III. ‘There are three things that are brothers: the fish (Marlin), and my two hands.’
The novelist also tells us about Santiago’s feelings of friendship and enmity for the giant fish, the Marlin as:
‘Then he was sorry for the great fish (Marlin) that has nothing to eat and his determination to kill him (Marlin) never relaxed in his sorrow for him.’
The above textual references show that Santiago loves and respects the big fish, but at the same time, he feels the fish that he will certainly kill him before the day ends. He treats the Marlin both as a friend or brother and as an enemy.
‘Come on and kill me, I do not care who kills who.’