Jay Gatsby: The Great American Tragic Hero

902 words - 4 pages

The Roaring Twenties was a period of greed characterized by an avaricious compulsion to accumulate material goods. After The Great War, the booming economy elevated the middle class and led to the sexual and moral revolution. Coming from modest means, Scott Fitzgerald aspired to assimilate into this new social class. The Great Gatsby is considered one of Fitzgerald’s best novels; it mirrored his own personal triumphs, defeats, and disillusionments. Gatsby’s steadfast determination to reconstruct his past led to his demise. Furthermore, Gatsby's capacity to forgive, his idealistic dream of loving Daisy, and his ability to make a name for himself demonstrated his “greatness”.
In the first few chapters, it was inconceivable to imagine Jay Gatsby as “great.” His involvement in clandestine business affairs with Meyer Wolfshiem led to shocking theories as to how he amassed his wealth and lived an ostentatious lifestyle. Meyer Wolfshiem was a gambler “who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919.” Through a personal investigation to discredit Gatsby, Tom Buchanan (Daisy’s husband) confirmed that Gatsby was indeed a bootlegger. “He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side street drug stores and sold grain alcohol over the counter… I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong.” Gatsby’s sole motivation for his corrupt dealings was to acquire enough power and money to court and to win back Daisy’s affections. Nevertheless, he was full of generosity, loyalty, and had a great heart which demonstrated his prodigious mind.
From a young age, Gatsby was determined to make a new life for himself to avoid following in the footsteps of his “shiftless and unsuccessful” parents. Ultimately creating different scenarios in his head, he “invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent.” After all, "He was a son of God... and to this conception he was faithful to the end." After escaping from his house, Gatsby met Dan Cody and was given a taste of élite society that catapulted his new persona.
Upon Dan Cody's death, Gatsby joined the army to make something of himself and coincidentally met Daisy. The moment he saw her, she became his untouchable dream. "He knew that when he kissed this girl... his mind would never romp again like the mind of God." Sadly, Daisy's love was stolen by the new millionaire in town after Gatsby went to war. However, after five years, he reappeared as an incredibly rich and mysterious character with a simple goal- to achieve the love he fantasized. To gather her attention, “He bought his house so that Daisy would...

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