In Old Man and the Sea, Santiago respects the fish throughout their battle, refers to him as his brother, and behaves respectfully to him in his thoughts and actions. At one point, the old man "was sorry for the great fish that had nothing to eat and his determination to kill him never relaxed in his sorrow for him." He goes on to speculate: "How many people will he feed…. But are they worthy to eat him? No, of course not. There is no one worthy of eating him from the manner of his behavior and his great dignity." Though his determination to kill the fish never wavers, he has more respect for his dignity and courage than he has for those the fish will feed.
At the end, when half the fish is gone, Santiago speaks to the fish that remains: "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. However, he maintains his optimism till the end, and makes a vow to his fish that he will fight the sharks "until I die."