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The Tragic Hero of The Great Gatsby Essay

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Achilles' hamartia was his heel, Samson's was his love for Delilah, and Hamlet's was his indecisiveness. The definition of hamartia is a fatal flaw that leads to the downfall of a hero. In each of these heroes' cases, they had a specific flaw lead to their demise. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby: the main character, Jay Gatsby is the tragic hero. Like all tragic heroes, he inspires the feeling of sympathy from readers. The thing that makes him so relatable is his hopefulness in pursuing the American Dream, just like so many others have felt and experienced. Usually, we attribute being a dreamer as a good thing. However, in The Great Gatsby, that stereotype is broken. Jay Gatsby is an excessively hopeful man who was obsessed with fitting in to high society and recapturing the past with his ex lover, Daisy. He did not know how or when to stop, because it was the core part of who he was. The lengths he was willing to go to achieve his goals were staggering, and it eventually lead to his downfall. That is why Jay Gatsby is the tragic hero of The Great Gatsby, and his hamartia would be his reckless dreaming. His reckless dreaming is seen through his extravagant measures to meet with Daisy and his persistence in pursuing his dream even after it had been shattered. Finally, it was proven that his reckless dreaming had lead to his downfall when Nick, the narrator had foreshadowed the cause of his downfall at the very beginning of the novel.

Gatsby was initially a mystery to the readers. Nobody knew who he was and where he came from. When he moved into his new mansion in West Egg, he started throwing huge parties where everybody was invited; yet he never participated in them. He was a generous, but invisible host...


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...e things that were getting in the way of his dreams. He did not catch the hints around him and continued to pursue a dream that was already dead.

Dreaming is okay to a certain extent. But Gatsby had extended his dreaming above and beyond the normal standards. The way he dreamed was so without abandon that he got trapped in his own fantasies. His extravagant measures to get what he wanted and his refusal to accept reality are proof of his recklessness. He did absolutely everything to get what he wanted, and when things started to unravel in front of his very eyes, he had failed to even realize it. He was made a victim of his reckless dreaming and was too far up in the clouds that he did not realize the reality of his situation. This resulted in him not taking action to fix the situation, therefore leading to his inevitable demise.



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