did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he
thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman.
You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you
love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?
As Santiago sails back to his village
on the fourth day of the novella, towing behind him the carcass
of the decimated marlin, he tries to make sense of the destruction
he has witnessed. He feels deeply apologetic toward the fish, which
he sees as too dignified for such a wasteful end. He attempts to
explain to himself his reasons for killing the fish, and admits
that his desire to hunt the fish stemmed from the very same quality
that led to its eventual destruction: his pride. He then justifies
his behavior by claiming that his slaying of the marlin was necessitated
by his love and respect for it. Indeed, when Santiago kills the
fish, the loss of life is somehow transcendently beautiful, as opposed
to the bold, senseless scavenging on the part of the sharks.