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Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby And The Tragic Hero

1029 words - 5 pages

Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and the Tragic Hero

 
    Aristotle invented a list of criteria in an attempt to determine the exact definition of a tragic hero.  The list states the following - the tragic hero must cause his own down fall; the tragic hero's fate is undeserved; the tragic hero's punishment exceeds his crime; the tragic hero must be a great and noble person according to the standards of the current society.  In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby can be defined as a tragic hero who possesses all of the aforementioned traits.  

Jay Gatsby's main desire in life is to become a member of high society, respected more than anyone else.  Gatsby has taken steps to ...view middle of the document...

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 Gatsby is unable to see this. Gatsby's downfall is choosing Daisy to represent his great vision. She is unworthy.

      Gatsby dies with faith, awaiting the improbable phone call from Daisy. He keeps faith to the end, in his ideal and Daisy. Gatsby's dream falls apart in front of him, yet he still holds faith in his Daisy. By the end of the novel, Gatsby earns Nick's respect and Nick passes judgement "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together" (154). Since Nick is...

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