The book, The Great Gatsby, is a historical fiction novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald which was published on April 10, 1925. This novel was set right after World War I and this period of time was called the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, a time filled with dramatic social and political change. The 1920s was a time where women gained more rights, Americans had more money, and people were freer to do the things they wanted to do. This novel is set in the year of 1922 and it is about a poor man, Gatsby, who falls in love with rich girl, Daisy, and then spends the rest of his life trying to get rich to impress her, but no matter how rich he became or how many lavish parties he had thrown, he was unfortunately never good enough for her. He then later he dies utterly alone, having almost no one to care to for him.
F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the Greek tragic cycle to show that Gatsby represents a tragic hero. According to Aristotle, the stages of the tragic cycle are ate, nemesis, anagoreasis, and peripeteia. Gatsby came up with some tragic realizations, unfortunately, he realized these anagnorisis,tragic realizations, too late and ended up getting punished and this made him a tragic hero instead of an epic one. Fitzgerald uses nemesis and anagnorisis to show that Gatsby was a tragic hero.
In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby experiences nemesis many times towards the end of the book. Nemesis is a punishment that a person cannot avoid, and it usually occurs as a result of his/her arrogance. According to Aristotle, nemesis causes the hero's downfall which in this case is Gatsby's death. Gatsby really felt the punishment on that long hot summer day when everyone decided to go to the city, so everyone goes to the city and they ended in some New York hotel. And at this point Tom found out about Daisy's affair with Gatsby, so he decides to show Daisy the real Gatsby. At first, Gatsby didn't care that Tom was trying to expose him because he was too focused on getting Daisy to confess her love for him to Tom. But then when the tensions were raised in the room and Gatsby told Tom that Daisy only loved him, Gatsby, , Daisy said with perceptible reluctance, I never loved him.... Not at Kapiolani? demanded Tom suddenly. No.... Not that day I carried you down from the Punch Bowl to keep your shoe dry? There was a husky tenderness in his tone ...Daisy?(Fitzgerald 117).
Gatsby was so desperate for Daisy's love that he even tried to make her confess her love to Tom. He was taking extreme measures to confirm that Daisy wanted him and not Tom. Jay Gatsby felt superior to Tom because he truly believed that the girl was his and not Tom's, but when Daisy said that she never really loved Tom; Gatsby felt that he was even more greater than god. He really shouldn't have done this because his nemesis came right afterward. Fitzgerald used this quote to teach the reader how quickly nemesis could take over your life because right after Daisy said that she never liked Tom and while Gatsby was having his few seconds of victory; Daisy cried to Gatsby, Oh, you want too much!... I love you now-- isn't that enough? I can't help what's past. She began to sob helplessly. I did love him once-- but I loved you too. Gatsby's eyes opened and closed . You loved me too? he repeated.(Fitzgerald 117-118).
When Daisy said this to Gatsby, his dream shattered. The situation had completely turned around and the opposite of what he anticipated had just occurred. Now what used to seem to be in Gatsby's command was no longer in his control. Daisy and Gatsby's relationship was really one sided because on one hand Gatsby was utterly obsessed with Daisy and has been for the past five years, while on the other hand Daisy seemed unsure of who she loved until the very end and she had moved on with her life after she met Gatsby five years earlier. Gatsby waited for Daisy fora long time, but because he was living in the past and only thinking about how he had good times then, he ruined his future by losing the past five years of his life doing nothing but trying to get Daisy back. After Daisy claimed that she supposedly loved both Tom and Gatsby, Tom continued to confront Gatsby and he then revealed that Gatsby was doing some illegal stuff, which gave Daisy a reason to not choose Gatsby and choose Tom instead. Chaos arose and Daisy was sick of the yelling so she said, Please, Tom! I can't stand this anymore.(Fitzgerald 119).
When Gatsby arrived at the hotel, he was so confident that Daisy would chose him over Tom and that things would go back to the way they were a few years back when they first met. But, now it was like his confidence had been stomped on and the power he used to have had now all gone to Tom. Gatsby made a mistake of trying to put back things that don't belong there anymore; and unfortunately he never learned from his mistake, even after all the warnings that he received. The biggest punishment the Gatsby could have ever received was Daisy admitting to liking Gatsby and then choosing Tom in the end.
Fitzgerald uses nemesis to show that Kosmos was punishing Gatsby due to his arrogance of living in the past One way that Fitzgerald showed that Gatsby was a tragic hero was by making the character have anagnorisis. In the beginning of the story when Nick first met Gatsby, Gatsby asked Jordan to tell Nick the love story between Gatsby and Daisy the occurred five years before and ask him if could arrange a sort of reunion between the two of them. Nick happily agrees to help. When Daisy does show up, Gatsby ends up knocking over Nick's mantle clock, but luckily, the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place. Then he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand. (Fitzgerald 83). This clock represents time lost with Daisy and Gatsby's attempt to making the time up with her. The clock also is trying to tell us that time will be lost if you try to make up for the time that you lost with someone. No matter how much you try the things that used to be in your life will have moved on and the only way that you will be able to be happy is if you move on too and accept the way that things are right now. Gatsby didn't learn this lesson fast enough because he spent a chunk of his life trying to get back someone that he never really had.
Another example of anagnorisis was later on in the day when Gatsby invites Nick and Daisy over to his house where Daisy points out that her house is right across the bay from Gatsby's. Gatsby then talks about the green light on Daisy's dock and how it meant something to him, butnow it was again a green light on a dock. [And] his count of enchanted objects had diminished by one. (Fitzgerald 88). The disappearance of the meaning of the green light gives of a very sad mood. Gatsby was so used to thinking that he was so close to Daisy, that when he was finally with Daisy it was hard to let go of the concept of the green light. The green light represented all that he had once had and all that he will soon have again. Gatsby's tragic realization was that he had dreaming about being with daisy for so long that he had totally forgotten how she actually was because in his dream he pictured everything about her to be perfect and enchanted but really in real life she was a self absorbed person that never really cared what happened to other people. Another example of anagnorisis was when Nick told Gatsby that he, ought to go away,(Fitzgerald 129).
Gatsby knew on the inside that he should go but he still stayed because he still had a little hope that Daisy would call him and they would run away together. If he hadn't done this maybe he could have ended up as epic hero instead of a tragic one. Fitzgerald used nemesis and anagnorisis show that Gatsby was a tragic hero. The author was trying to tell the reader not to get stuck in the past and to live in the future to be successful. Tis idea matters because it is idea that has been there for a long time and many people that the idea is very true.
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