The Great Gatsby Tragic Hero Essay

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According to Aristotle, one of the original creators of a tragic hero, there are a number of characteristics that define one: he must root his own demise; his fate is not deserved, and his punishment is more severe than the crime; he also must be of noble height or have a level of greatness. These are all characteristics of Jay Gatsby, the main character of Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby is of course a tragic hero. In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, all the characters are, in one way or another, attempting to find happiness within their lives. The characters in the novel are divided into two groups: the rich upper class and the poor lower class, aka The West and East egg, although the main characters only try to better their…show more content…
His life represents The American Dream in the way that he was corrupted by his love for Daisy and was corrupted by money in the process. Gatsby became a bootlegger to obtain money to impress daisy. Money represents wealth which is one of the steps to achieving the American dream. Gatsby is portrayed as the tragic hero because of his love he was willing to abandon his family and change his lifestyle so he can finally be accepted by Daisy. The shirts symbolize the change in Gatsby from when he was younger to the present (poor to wealthy). Daisy likes when Tom buys shirts because they represent the money he has to buy those shirts and when Gatsby shows her the shirts he had bought for himself she is shocked by the difference of what he was in the past to now. Gatsby wants a better life and thinks he can do it if he puts his mind to it, which is also a part of the American Dream (success/fame). However, Gatsby's dream collapses when he fails to win Daisy. All his money also cannot help him when George Wilson kills him in his swimming pool. Gatsby sees himself as a failure when Daisy chooses Tom instead of him. The failure of Gatsby's wished for life relates to the failure of the American Dream because it shows that it’s impossible. Without his dream Gatsby has nothing, nothing to keep him going, no direction, and no purpose in
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