Gatsby Is a Tragic Hero

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (967 words) Published: December 19, 2012
In the novel The Great Gatsby, Gatsby is a tragic hero because he displays the fundamental characteristics of modern tragic hero. He is a common man, he contains the characteristics of a tragic flaw, and he eventually has a tragic fall. Although at first glance Gatsby might not seem to be the everyday man, in reality he actually is. At one point Gatsby’s past is being examined and his parents are described as “shiftless and unsuccessful farm people” which shows the readers that he came from humble roots and was just like everyone else (Fitzgerald 95). He was not born into wealth and privilege and did not have any special background that gave him an advantage over others. Another instance in which Gatsby is portrayed as the average man is when Nick is discussing Gatsby’s past and he says, “So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent”(Fitzgerald 95). This shows that the persona that Gatsby has created for himself is that of any average, immature boy. As the novel progresses further you find Nick recounting Gatsby’s past and describing him as being a “penniless young man” which again shows the reader that Gatsby is really just the common man with a big dream (Fitzgerald 141). This statement helps take away some of the disguise of wealth and overwhelming power, and brings him into a more human perspective. Gatsby’s tragic flaw is that his view of the world is obstructed by his own naive idealism. It is very clear to the reader that Gatsby is idealistic when, while Nick is over at Gatsby’s house, he reflects on Daisy’s and Gatsby’s relationship and he notes, “There must have been moments… when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams… because of the colossal vitality of his illusion”(Fitzgerald 92). This shows that even Nick, his best friend and the one that sticks up for Gatsby the most, sees that Gatsby perceives Daisy to be ideal and perfect. Gatsby does not see things as they really are and expects them to play out...
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