The Tragic Hero in The Great Gatsby: Gatsby’s Hamartia

Category: Fiction
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
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Gatsby is not of royal greatness but fulfills all the other criteria of a tragic hero. Like everything else, the typical tragic hero has evolved greatly since its beginning days and Fitzgerald has made a large contribution to its evolution with his tragedy, The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby is considered a modern day tragic hero because he fulfills all of the expectations a tragic hero in todays day and age has. The first expectation that Gatsby fulfills to be a modern day tragic hero is that he has a Hamartia. His Hamartia is his obsession over having Daisy to himself.

He considers her as the last thing in life that he needs in order to have perfection. She is the only unrealistic dream that he chases and in the end, dies because of her, which is symbolic of her devastating impact on his life. Everything he does in life is geared towards his goal of having Daisy's love. A quote to show when Nick realizes Gatsbys Hamartia is, "Then it had merely the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor" (Fitzgerald 79).

Nick realizes all of Gatsbys parties and everything Gatsby does is to reach his ideal, Daisy. This flaw of Gatsby's is what indirectly leads to his horrific death. Something else that happens to Gatsby which makes him a tragic hero is Hubris. Ever since the beginning of his life, Gatsby has always envisioned himself as better than what he was given. He was born poor, but worked to be rich and successful, all for Daisy. He is too arrogant though, to realize he will never get Daisy. He thinks himself too powerful and cannot understand how Daisy cannot ossibly love him enough to leave Tom.

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A quote to prove this is, "Was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. " (Fitzgerald 189). He is too conceited to realize that his illegal money isn't enough for Daisy to fully love him back. His arrogance is what leads to his destruction in the end by the Gods. Pathos is another requirement Gatsby fulfills in being a modern day tragic hero. Although Gatsby makes many mistakes that are indirectly the cause of his death, he Just didn't know better.

He can't seem to get over his obsession of Daisy, as he is blind to the truth. Gatsby is a romantic dreamer who believes he will win the love of his life by gaining wealth. Daisy, however, is completely undeserving of his devotion. This is what causes the reader to feel empathy with Gatsby at the end. It's not his fault that he can't seem to notice how superficial and materialistic Daisy really is. A quote to prove Gatsby's absolute love for Daisy is, "He stretched his arms to warm water"(Fitzgerald 25). This reters to when

Gatsby is seen looking at the green light leading to Daisy's house. W this, the reader can see the extreme desire Gatsby has for Daisy, but no matter how much he reaches for her, he will never be able to have her. This however, is something Gatsby doesn't realize, making the reader feel compassion for his blindness to the truth. Catharsis is also something else seen in The Great Gatsby that makes Gatsby a tragic hero. Towards the end of the novel, the readers start to realize his complete carelessness and selfishness.

He only cares about himself and oes what he feels is best for himself, not really taking into consideration how his decisions will affect anyone else. A example of his recklessness would be Myrtle Wilson's death. Although Daisy was the one who ran her over, Gatsby showed no remorse with killing Myrtle and even after he stepped on the emergency brake and Daisy fell into his lap, he drove on without regret of leaving her there. A quote to show this is, "So I pulled on the emergency brake. Then she fell over into my lap and I drove on" (Fitzgerald 137).

Gatsby could've easily turned the car around and went ack to see if Myrtle was okay but he decided to drive on, which shows how he only cares for himself. Even when he became friends with Nick, he only did so to get closer with Daisy. Daisy's materialistic outlook influences Jay enough to think that way too. So everything that Gatsby ever does, is all for his personal gain and his dream of getting Daisy. Gatsby's catastrophe death is the one of the things that happens to him which makes him a tragic hero. Gatsby is tragically murdered by Mr.

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The Tragic Hero in The Great Gatsby: Gatsby’s Hamartia. (2018, Jun 13). Retrieved from

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