The Great Gatsby
Jay Gatsby, born James Gatz, the son of poor farmers, “sprang from his platonic conception of himself” (Fitzgerald 98). Thanks to a job on millionaire Dan Cody’s yacht, Jay was inspired to change his way of life. Despite his mysterious past, including rumours that he killed a man, Gatsby was in every way a tragic hero.
After meeting a beautiful girl named Daisy in Louisville, Gatsby spent his whole life fighting to be with her. He was too poor to ever be seen with her, so he got in deep with some gangsters just trying to earn enough money to be with her. When he finally had enough cash, he found out that she was married.
The instance comes up where he had to lie for her, and she wasn’t even grateful. After trying so hard for all those years to impress her, she ended up being the death of him – literally. Trying to recapture the past, nothing ends up going right for Gatsby, and he dies because of it. That, in it of itself, is the definition of a tragic hero. Daisy Fay was everything a guy could dream of – fun, slender, and extremely beautiful. If you had the best summer romance of your life with an amazing person, only to have them tell you that you were too poor to be with them, what would you do?
Would you give up, or would you fight for them? Jay Gatsby chose the latter. After Daisy told him he wasn’t rich enough, he was devastated. Tragically, when he was finally rich enough to be with the girl of his dreams he found out she’d moved on. The only thing that Gatsby could do was admire her from afar, which is kind of creepy but apparently some girls find that romantic. “‘Gatsby bought that house so that he could be just across the bay. ’ Then it had not been 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 78). Gatsby was so in love with Daisy after all those years that he moved right across the bay from her. He was so obsessed with her that he didn’t stop to think about the consequences. Daisy was married, and pining after a married woman just screams ‘bad idea’. If her husband ever found out… watch out Gatsby. He was so overwhelmed when he finally saw Daisy again, he thought it was unreal, surely thinking back to when they were initially together. He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way, as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs. ” (Fitzgerald 91) Gatsby spent a vast amount of his life trying to be with Daisy, and now that she was actually in his house the whole situation felt surreal. Being so dedicated to the smallest things, like her presence in his house, was bad judgement.
At that point Daisy could have manipulated him into doing whatever she wanted. Getting so involved with a woman in general is usually a bad idea, especially a married one. Going back to when Daisy told Gatsby he didn’t have enough money to be with her, Gatsby must have been desperate. At that point he probably would have done anything to get Daisy back, including getting involved with some very bad people. ”’Meyer Wolfsheim? No, he’s a gambler. ’ Gatsby hesitated, then added coolly, ‘He’s the man who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919. ” (Fitzgerald 73) Meyer Wolfsheim was a very bad person with molars for cuff links, and young Gatsby must have thought that getting involved with his ‘business’ would help him earn enough money to be good enough for Daisy. You would think that someone with teeth for accessories would be a person to generally avoid. Wolfsheim helped Gatsby get the money he needed by selling alcohol during the time of prohibition and selling him some drug-stores.
Earning all that money in such an awful way must have been a story Gatsby didn’t share very often. ’It took me just three years to earn the money that bought it. ’ ‘I thought you inherited your money. ’ ‘I did old sport,’ he said automatically. ‘But I lost most of it in the big panic. The panic of war. ’ I think he hardly knew what he was saying for when I asked him what business he was in he answered, ‘That’s my affair,’ before he realized that wasn’t the appropriate reply. ‘Oh, I’ve been in several things,’ he corrected himself. ‘I was in the drug business and then I Was in the oil business. But I’m not in either one now. ” (Fitzgerald 90) Gatsby was so used to lying about how he actually received all his money that when Nick, one of his closest friends, asked him he immediately lied. Having the instinct to lie, especially to his friends, was only going to come back and bite him in the butt, especially since he was involved with gangsters in the first place. ‘When witnesses concoct lies, they often miss the obvious. ’ – John Grisham. This quote is applicable to Gatsby because agreeing to lie for Daisy, he missed Nick’s warnings for him to get away due to Wilson’s inevitable repercussions.
If a girl is cheating on her husband, she probably isn’t very trustworthy in the first place, so Gatsby agreeing to lie for Daisy and say he killed Myrtle was probably a bad idea. ”’Yes,’ he said after a moment, ‘but of course I’ll say I was. ’”(Fitzgerald 143) Agreeing to lie was the first step towards his demise. Daisy couldn’t risk Gatsby accidentally letting it slip that she was the one driving, and she had to tell Tom something… after everything that went on between the three of them, Tom and Daisy realized that they were still in love with each other and they just wanted everything to go back to normal. ‘What if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him. He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy’s, but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle like you’d run over a dog and never even stopped his car. ’” (Fitzgerald 178). Daisy turned on Gatsby just as quick as he had agreed to lie for her; she told Tom that Gatsby had agreed to lie for her and that they needed to get rid of him in case he told. Tom told Wilson that it was Gatsby and Wilson was so enraged that he shot Gatsby and then killed himself. Lying for Daisy only led to more trouble for Gatsby.
The rash decision to lie ended his life as soon as he agreed to it. A tragic hero is a person who, through his or her own actions, leads to their own demise. Gatsby, through yearning for a girl he could never really have, working with convicts to get his money, and lying for aforementioned girl who only cared about herself unambiguously lead to his own murder, making him fit the description of a tragic hero to a tee. Gatsby did everything for a girl who turned on him like it was nothing. Was it worth it? Would you have done the same?