Jay Gatsby as Tragic Hero of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Essay

974 Words4 Pages
Jay Gatsby as Tragic Hero of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby According to Aristotle, there are a number of characteristics that identify a tragic hero: he must cause his own downfall; his fate is not deserved, and his punishment exceeds the crime; he also must be of noble stature and have greatness. These are all characteristics of Jay Gatsby, the main character of Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby is a tragic hero according to Aristotle's definition. Jay Gatsby is an enormously rich man, and in the flashy years of the jazz age, wealth defined importance. Gatsby has endless wealth, power and influence but never uses material objects selfishly. Everything he owns exists only to attain his vision. Nick feels…show more content…
Later, the concept develops into an obsession with money and more so, Daisy. Gatsby's tragic flaw lies within his inability to see that the real and the ideal cannot coexist. Gatsby's ideal is Daisy. He sees her as perfect and worthy of all his affections and praise. In reality she is undeserving and through her actions, proves she is pathetic rather than honorable. When Daisy says "Sophisticated-God I'm sophisticated" (18), she contradicts who she really is. The reader sees irony here, knowing she is far from sophisticated, but superficial, selfish and pathetic. Gatsby's vision is based on his belief that the past can be repeated, "can't repeat the past? Why of course you can" (111)! The disregard for reality is how Gatsby formulates his dream (with high expectations), and the belief that sufficient wealth can allow one to control his or her own fate. Gatsby believes youth and beauty can be recaptured if he can only make enough money. To become worthy of Daisy, Gatsby accumulates his wealth, so he can rewrite the past and Daisy will be his. He establishes an immense fortune to impress the great love of his life, Daisy, who can only be won with evidence of material success. Over the five years in which Gatsby formulates this ideal, he envisions Daisy so perfect that he places her on a pedestal. As he attempts to make his ideal a reality things do not run as smoothly as he plans. Daisy can never live up to Gatsby's ideal, though
Open Document