Jay Gatsby the Tragic Hero

Essay by lustyilluminationsHigh School, 10th grade March 2007

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The great flaw in Gatsby's character is his excessive obsession. We find out towards the middle of the book Gatsby is obsessed with Daisy to the point that his life is 'Daisy'. He throws extravagant parties in hopes her being there. He purchases a palace of a mansion simply because it is close to Daisy's home. He makes a living only to prove himself worthy to Daisy. He lives for 'Daisy', but he does not live for the living Daisy. Gatsby is so infatuated with 'Daisy' that he is bent on the magnificent fantasy of a Daisy to which no human can compare. He chooses to remain loyal to the young Daisy of eighteen, who was "by far the most popular of all the young girls of Louisville…dressed in white, and had a little white roadster" (Fitzgerald 72-73). In the words of Fitzgerald: "No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can store up in his ghostly heart" (93).

This is very true, as the real Daisy served no other purpose to Gatsby than to bear a faint resemblance to the fantastical angle he had conjured out of his shattered dreams. Neither Gatsby nor anyone can gain anything from such a delusional happiness.

Gatsby has many nemeses in the novel. George Wilson can be considered a nemesis because it is at his hands that Gatsby meets his death. Another rival of Gatsby's is Tom Buchanan, our protagonist's adversary in love who also had a hand in the hero's downfall. In my opinion however, the arch-nemesis of Jay Gatsby is none other than Jay Gatsby. I believe Gatsby's own actions and flaws in character have brought about his demise. Gatsby was the one who built his entire life gravitating around a single ideal of a girl he...