The Tragic Jay Gatsby
Many characters in novels may be considered to be tragic. These characters are considered tragic because of one character trait they possess that leads to their eventual demise. Jay Gatsby is a tragic character in a unique way. That is, he has many negative traits, but only one of these traits leads to his eventual downfall. Of all the character traits that Jay Gatsby possessed, his excessiveness in everything he did was what led him to his ultimate downfall.
Jay Gatsby was excessive in every spectrum of his life. One example of his excessive lifestyle is his view of the “good life”. Gatsby’s parties were frequent, humongous, and extravagant. ” Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiter in New York every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulp less halves By seven o’clock the orchestra has arrived. No thin five piece affair, but a whole pit full of oboes and trombones and saxophones and violas and” These examples are only a little slice of the essentials for a “Gatsby” party. All of this excessiveness is way beyond rational, and reason. Another example of his excessive parties is the fact that people would be so trashed that in one event, a couple guests are in a car accident and do not even realize it. After it happens, they just walk away looking for another drink. The simple fact is that if any serious injuries or accidents occurred during his parties, Gatsby would not have to worry about liability. His extreme wealth permitted him the option of purchasing a “get out of jail free” card. Gatsby’s biggest concerns were about his guests having a good time. Gatsby is so rich that the penalties or fines that could be imposed for this behavior would not affect him in any way. This kind of wealth allows for the imagination to run wild and excessively spend time, and money in unimportant ways.
Gatsby did not only excessively spend his money on parties. He also spent a myriad of money on clothing, cars, and a plethora of other toys. “He opened for us two hulking patent cabinets which held his massed suits and dressing gowns and ties, and shirts piled like bricks in stacks a dozen high. I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall.'” It is amazing that someone would waste the money to have someone in England send clothes for each season, most of which Gatsby has never seen, let alone wore! This is not in any way a dangerous kind of excessiveness, but it just is another great example of Gatsby’s fruitful, and outlandish lifestyle.
Gatsby’s demise, however, is caused by one fault. His excessive love for Daisy. He takes their relationship to places not appropriate by any stretch of the imagination. When Gatsby says, “Just tell him the truth- that you never loved him- and it’s all wiped out forever.” Gatsby is urging Daisy to tell her husband that she is in love with another man, and that she never loved him. Only one conclusion can be drawn. Gatsby is so excessive in his love for Daisy that he is willing to forget the last five years of his life as long as Daisy is willing to do the same with her husband! To all normal people, this is absurd. It does not happen. But in the backwards world that Jay Gatsby lives in, it is perfectly normal.
In conclusion, Jay Gatsby is excessive in many aspects of his life. His money, his lifestyle, and many other parts of his life are taken to the extreme; but none would create the destruction that his excessive love for Daisy caused. All these reasons are why Jay Gatsby’s excessiveness leads to his eventual downfall, and death, and explains the reason why Gatsby is a tragic character.