The Old Man and the Sea Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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In The Old Man and the Sea, is Santiago afraid of death?

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The answer to this question is definitely debatable. Personally, I would argue that Santiago is not afraid of death. He has lived a full life through harrowing circumstances, and he fully understands that death is going to come to everyone at some point. He respects death because he has been dealing out death to the fish that he catches. Santiago accepts that he is going to die someday, so I don't think he is afraid of death.

He might fear the method by which his death occurs. I can't imagine he wouldn't be afraid of dying in an extremely painful manner; however, I don't think he fears death in general. Despite the fact that he isn't likely afraid of death, Santiago isn't exactly willing to embrace death anytime soon. He has learned that death is inevitable; however, all of creation fights hard to put death off as long as possible. That's why the marlin fights so hard against Santiago and why Santiago fights the sharks just as ferociously.

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