‘The Old Man and the Sea’ – Writer: Ernest Hemingway
Question # 1: Write a note on the soliloquies and monologues of the old man.
Answer: A soliloquy a device which is employed to reveal the inner-most thoughts of the speaker. Here the speaker speaks to none but to himself.
A monologue is a speech by one person who speaks alone. It may be distinguished from the soliloquy by the fact that the monologue is addressed to some one.
The novelist has used both these devices to being to light the inner working of the old man’s mind. Throughout the adventure with the giant fish and his fight with the sharks in the sea, the novelist has shown him talking to himself, to huge fish, marlin, to a small bird, Warbler, and to the sharks. This is his loud thinking.
The novelist has used the techniques of soliloquy and monologue for the following reasons:
Being a lonely soul, Santiago does not appear to have close relationship with other fishermen. There is only the boy, Manolin, who comes to him to learn the art of fishing. Later on, he too leaves him on the orders of his parents. He is thus left alone. He feels himself lonely. To get rid of the sense of loneliness or isolation, he sometimes talks to the huge fish, marlin, and sometimes to the other creatures of the sea.
Being far out and all alone on the sea, he also thinks loud of the Boy, Manolin, the lions, watched by him on the African Coasts during his youth, the base ball champion, DiMaggio, and his victory over a Negro in Hand game completion. While on the ocean, Santiago speaks to the huge fish, Marlin as:
‘Fish I’ll stay with you until I am dead.’
Another major reason of his talking to himself has been described by Santiago himself as:
‘If the others heard me talking out loud they would think that I am crazy,’ he said aloud. ‘But I am not crazy, I do not care. And the rich have radios to talk to them in their boats and to bring them the baseball.’
It is clear that he has no sources of communication that is why he talks to himself. If he had radio he would not have talked to himself. Another important technical aspect is that Santiago has to remain on the sea for a long time and if there is no communication with the readers, they will not understand anything about their hero. For better understanding of the readers the devices of soliloquy and monologue have been used.