In The Great Gatsby, is Gatsby a tragic hero in the Aristotelian sense or the "Arthur Miller" sense?

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A classic Aristotelian tragic hero must possess specific attributes which will allow the audience to identify and sympathize with the character. According to Aristotle's definition, a tragic hero must be considered royalty, possess an honorable nature, and suffer a serious decline of fortune after making an irreversible mistake. The classic tragic hero's character flaw leading to their demise is called hamartia, and the character experiences a reversal of fortune as a result of this flaw. Typically, the tragic flaw is hubris, and the tragic hero recognizes their mistake before courageously accepting their death with honor.

Arthur Miller argues that the skepticism of modern man prevents audiences from believing in heroes and thinks that the common man is a highly suitable subject for tragedy just as the kings were. Miller defines a common hero as any person willing to lay down his life for the sake of securing "his sense of personal dignity." Miller also believes the common hero is not given a rightful place in society but struggles to gain their desired place in the world. According to Miller, the tragic flaw is with society, and the common hero evokes tragedy by becoming a victim of the flawed society.

By examining these two definitions, one could argue that Jay Gatsby is more of a tragic common hero in Arthur Miller's sense than he is a classical Aristotelian tragic hero. Jay Gatsby has a humble background and is not considered royalty. He also attempts to establish his rightful place in society by amassing wealth and moving to the West Egg. However, Gatsby will never belong to the East Egg, where he desires to reside with Daisy. One could also argue that Gatsby does not possess an internal character flaw and that the tragic flaw is with the superficial, hostile society he inhabits.

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