Character of Sea in The Old Man And the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Sea has a strong symbolic significance in this novel. It is as old as the history of man. It is a symbol of knowledge immeasurable. Every sea wave represents passage of time. Man is yet to discover this knowledge with each new voyage. Sea, like nature, is loving and kind. But it is wild and dangerous too. It provides man with opportunities to earn his livelihood on his waters. It is generally calm and peaceful. Santiago and all other fishermen catch fish on its waters.

The might of sea represents the powerful nature which is bent on destroying whatever man strives to build on. When it is angry, it does not spare man. The sea, with all its might, shows the contrast to the insignificant man and symbolizes that man has a lot to endure in this world if he wishes to survive anymore. The sea is also a teacher as it teaches Santiago when he crosses the limit by going "far out" into the deep sea. It crushes and destroys Santiago.