Great Gatsby is a tragic hero

Good Essays
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is a classic American tragedy. The novel has all the basic elements necessary to classify a story as a tragedy: a tragic hero, his character flaw, and a twist of fate which results in the hero's ultimate destruction. Jay Gatsby is the doomed tragic hero, blinded by his irrational dream to relive the past. Fate interferes in the form of the unexpected manslaughter of one character's mistress by his wife. All these facets of the story come together to cause the end of Gatsby.

In order for a character to be defined as a tragic hero, he must be noble in character. Jay Gatsby demonstrates this in his devotion to Daisy Buchanan, whom he has been preparing for a re-encounter with for the past 5 years. When he finally finds himself in her presence again, "...there were twinkle-bells of sunshine in the room, he smiled like a weather man, like an ecstatic patron of recurrent light..." He talks with Daisy, and even after 5 whole years of building her up in his mind, he is still very much in love with her. "...[After speaking with her,] there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the room." He loves her, everything he does is for her, and there is no characteristic more noble than true love and devotion.

The very denotation of a tragic hero is a noble person with a tragic flaw which helps to bring about his downfall, and which may cause the hero to make poor decisions. Mr. Gatsby's character flaw is his enduring dream of finding Daisy, the woman he met and fell in love with before he was sent to fight in World War I, and reuniting with her. When they met, he was a poor nobody and she was a member of the old-money elite, a match that they both knew could not possibly work. So, even though he knew she was married, when Jay came back from the war, he devoted his life to reinventing himself to make himself good enough

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Is Jay Gatsby Tragic?

    • 675 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Many characters in novels may be considered to be tragic. These characters are considered tragic because of one character trait they possess that leads to their eventual demise. Jay Gatsby is a tragic character in a unique way. That is, he has many negative traits, but only one of these traits leads to his eventual downfall. Of all the character traits that Jay Gatsby possessed, his excessiveness in everything he did was what led him to his ultimate downfall.…

    • 675 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby isn’t like any other New Yorker, he is from the West, and gives respect to everyone that comes upon his presence because he has one goal he focused on as he went to the war and one common goal that every American wants to achieve. He was friendly to many people, not by talking or knowing them, but by the use of his money. He threw enormous parties every weekend for one reason, they were all for his one dream, to fall in love with Daisy Buchanan. He also could afford all of these parties because he was the American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby portrays all of the qualities of a tragic hero in Jay Gatsby.…

    • 913 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the main character Jay Gatsby is the tragic hero in the novel. Gatsby is a rich man who falls in love with a woman from his past, but could not be with her; instead, he ended up alone and was killed.…

    • 461 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A tragic hero must suffer more than he deserves; however, all the suffering that Gatsby endures is brought on by none other than himself. Gatsby willingly makes poor decisions to fulfill his romantic ideology.…

    • 897 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Many people don’t know their purpose or motivation to reach a certain goal, while others have it all figured out and are becoming “heroes”, or so they think. Jay Gatsby from the film “The Great Gatsby” is a lover hero, since he is completely motivated by love, his character flaw is dishonesty which causes people to believe an inaccurate description of Gatsby and his past. Lover heroes like Gatsby will do anything and everything they can to feel loved, for they are committed and passionate about gaining bliss. Gatsby is determined to get Daisy’s love back, even if he throws in a couple of lies dealing with his past. Gatsby’s description of a lover hero is completely related to his motivation of Daisy’s love, his flaw of lying to gain bliss,…

    • 988 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A reader who is skimming through the novel „The Great Gatsby“ by F. Scott Fitzgerald might consider a happy ending by the end of the fifth chapter, however at a slightly more detailed look there are clear signs that indicate that a tragic and miserable ending is the only possible one. This essay will be looking at how Fitzgerald foreshadows tragedy, and how he presents tragedy in the lives of the novel’s characters.…

    • 798 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jay Gatsby can be characterized as a war veteran who is simply desperate to regain his young love, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby has spent many years changing his life in order to win Daisy back, but when they finally meet again, “… Daisy tumbled short of his dreams” (Fitzgerald 95). Gatsby spent years building up an elaborate imagination of what he thought Daisy would be like when he finally met with her again. Not only does he spend many years thinking about her, he uses his time becoming the man he thinks Daisy wants. The way Gatsby changes his whole life for a woman speaks loudly about his character.…

    • 827 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Great Gatsby

    • 456 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Throughout works of literature, when a person has to deal with external pressures, forces beyond his or her control, either his true character is revealed, or what already comprises his personality is magnified. In the novel the Great Gatsby, the character Jay Gatsby is defined and clarified by the way that he faces external forces. Gatsby’s goal was to get Daisy at all cost, so he did everything to do so and this corrupted him.…

    • 456 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The "Great" Gatsby?

    • 979 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Gatsby took the blame for Daisy when she murdered Myrtle. He went to such great lengths to attain what he believed Daisy had wanted all along just so she would be with him...that takes a great man. Gatsby is essentially ‘great’ because all that he did – the lavish parties, the beautiful shirts, the gorgeous house – was all for a noble cause; he did this for love, for what he dreamed about for the last five years of his life. Gatsby is great for the sole reason that “he believed in the green light” (Fitzgerald 180) symbolizing expectation and…

    • 979 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Great Gatsby

    • 496 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a romantic tragedy about a man named Nick Carraway who gets involved with the life of Jay Gatsby and his not-so secretive love for Daisy Buchanan. A critic named Lionel Trilling once said, “Jay Gatsby is to be thought of as standing for America itself.” This is proven to be true because Gatsby moves up in life and pursues his dream. He is an example for the American way because he fails at certain things and succeeds at others.…

    • 496 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The great flaw in Gatsby's character is his excessive obsession. We find out towards the middle of the book Gatsby is obsessed with Daisy to the point that his life is 'Daisy'. He throws extravagant parties in hopes her being there. He purchases a palace of a mansion simply because it is close to Daisy's home. He makes a living only to prove himself worthy to Daisy. He lives for 'Daisy', but he does not live for the living Daisy. Gatsby is so infatuated with 'Daisy' that he is bent on the magnificent fantasy of a Daisy to which no human can compare. He chooses to remain loyal to the young Daisy of eighteen, who was "by far the most popular of all the young girls of Louisville…dressed in white, and had a little white roadster" (Fitzgerald 72-73). In the words of Fitzgerald: "No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can store up in his ghostly heart" (93). This is very true, as the real Daisy served no other purpose to Gatsby than to bear a faint resemblance to the fantastical angle he had conjured out of his shattered dreams. Neither Gatsby nor anyone can gain anything from such a delusional happiness.…

    • 674 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    How appropriate do you think it is to describe The Great Gatsby as a tragedy?…

    • 1229 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jay Gatsby is too foolish and ridiculous a figure to be seen as a great hero.…

    • 990 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the novel, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, it can be witness this misconception of love between the characters Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, whom say to be deeply in love with one another. The author portrays the inaccuracy of love and obsession through Gatsby’s persona. This character, which the story revolves around, came from a very poor family, but as he grew up he decided to run away and went on in a risky mission to find better opportunities, because he believed that he was meant to do great things in life. Throughout the novel, the story of Gatsby and his, so-called, endless love for Daisy unfolds into a greater meaning.…

    • 997 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    The Great Gatsby

    • 951 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The great gatsby, a novel by F.Scott Fitzgerald, is about the loss of innocence and society's downfall as they try to reach this dream. The goal is different for each person, as well as the loss. He or she has a chance of achiving wealth and happiness that sccompaniesit. The great gatsby believes that one can acquire happiness through the accumulaton of wealth and power. Fitzgerald uses images of the character Jay Gatsby, excessive wealth, and immoral actions with the characters to portray the cost of a corrupted society.…

    • 951 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays