The character of Santiago can also be seen as representatives of Christ. There are several comparisons drawn to biblical themes such as his 40 days without a catch, his injuries matching those of the crucifixtion, and his willingness to endure his suffering.

Another character directly referred to in the story that Santiago is indirectly compared to is his favorite baseball player, Joe Dimaggio. Like Dimaggio, Santiago is past his prime, but tries his hardest in spite of the pain and strain his work causes him. This is similar to Dimaggio, who has long since passed his greatest days as a baseball player at the time of this novel, but tries anyway because he loves the game and fans.