Examples Of Archetype In The Great Gatsby

1311 Words6 Pages

As defined by Aristotle, “a tragic hero is a literary character who makes a judgment error that inevitably leads to his/her own destruction” (“Tragic Hero” 1). In The Great Gatsby, Great historical writers like Sophocles and the aforementioned Aristotle used this character archetype while manifesting their works to create characters that were both larger than life, but also were human. Like these dateless litterateurs, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses this timeless archetype to create the titular character Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald likens Gatsby to fellow tragic heros like Antigone, Oedipus Rex, and Odysseus by describing him to be both a common man and larger than life. Furthermore, similar to other tragic heroes, Gatsby has a tremendous fall from grace. F. Scott Fitzgerald threads numerous tragic hero archetypal characteristics throughout The Great Gatsby to mold Jay Gatsby into a modern tragic hero.
Similar to the Greek writer Sophocles in creating the tragic hero Oedipus, Fitzgerald creates his tragic hero with a fatal flaw that ultimately leads to his downfall. While Oedipus exhibits the fatal flaw of hubris, Gatsby displays the character trait of naivety. Gatsby’s naiveness, shown through his pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, drives him to his eventual death. Gatsby “believes that he can bring the past into the present—to regain Daisy Fay” (Wang 1). …show more content…

He loses his sense of clear judgement, just as Oedipus was blinded by his tragic flaw. Gatsby portrays his blindness when he says, “Can’t repeat the past … Why of course you can!” (Fitzgerald 118). Even after Daisy shows that she is not willing to give up her life and be with him, Gatsby is so far disillusioned that he does not give up. Fitzgerald uses the tragic hero characteristic of a tragic flaw both to link Gatsby as a modern tragic hero to tragic heroes of old and to set up this central character’s final

Open Document