Is Gatsby a Tragic Hero?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade June 2001

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Is Gatsby a Tragic Hero? No He is Not WHY -Gatsby made his fortune dishonestly.

Most tragic hero's prosper by some twist of fate, however Gatsby runs an illegal business Ex. pg. 83 "“ Gatsby "you see, I carry on a little business on the side, a sort of side line" -Gatsby has lied to help achieve his goals.

Tragic hero's are generally decent people, but Jay Gatsby lies and cheats his way through life Ex. pg.65 "“ "And with this doubt, his whole statement fell to pieces and I wonderred if there wasn't something a little sinister about him" -He started out as a poor soldier not of any high status.

A tragic hero is someone of important stature that eventually falls, however Gatsby start out poor and of no real significance.

Ex. pg. 66 "“ "Then came the war old sport. "¦ I accepted a commission as a first lieutenant."

-His obsession with Daisy is misguided.

Jay Gatsby continually holds parties for the simple reason that Daisy might show up.

Ex. pg. 80 "“ "I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night, but she never did".

-His cause is unjust, because he's seeking a married woman.

When a tragic hero sets out on a quest it is normally one of some nobility, however Gatsby is chasing Daisy, a married woman.

Ex. pg. 78 "“ "Next day at five o'clock she married Tom Buchanan without so much as a shiver," -He is very self-absorbed.

Gatsby is more concerned with how the grass looks than about how his actions affect other people's feelings.

Ex. pg.83 "“ ""I want to get the grass cut" he said. "¦ I suspected that he meant my grass." -Imposes a fake image on others in order to impress them.

Gatsby holds huge parties inviting large numbers of people as well as allowing others to show up uninvited, merely to continue the rumors about himself.

Ex. pg. 48 "“ "I'm afraid I'm not a very good host" admits Gatsby.

-Jay Gatsby is considered to be meretricious, or in other words, beauty without sustenance.

Gatsby has many myths and rumors spread about him however very few if any are true.

Ex. pg. 99 "“ "he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty".