A tragedy is defined as such where the tragic hero of a text, is presented as having a combination of admirable qualities and a flaw that proves fatal. The concept of tragedy and its significance to the individual is explored in a number of texts including the play Othello by William Shakespeare, and the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The representation of tragedy within each text differs according to the respective plots, characterisations and techniques used by the composer to convey the concept of tragedy, leaving the responders perception of a tragedy and the heroic figure clear and precise. Both Shakespeare and Fitzgerald use the fall of a notable person as the main focus in their tragedies. Othello and The Great Gatsby display the downfall of two men who loved excessively but "loved not wisely .
As a common standard in tragedy the tragic hero is of a high status who is faced with some opposing force whether internal or external. In Othello's valedictory speech, nearing the end of Act V, Scene II, a final attempt is made to persuade the responder to accept a less than completely villainous image of him. His main concern before he dies is how he will be remembered. "Speak of me as I am . Shakespeare stresses Othello's alienation in a way that he does not do earlier in the play, comparing Othello to a "base Indian who cast away a pearl worth more than all of his tribe. Finally, Othello recalls a time where he defended Venice by killing a Turkish enemy, and then stabs himself in a re-enactment of his earlier act; thereby casting himself as both insider and outsider, enemy and defender of the state. There is no escape from an acknowledgement of what he is, except self-obliteration.
The tragic figure is the main character that endures a downfall or is destroyed during the course of the novel. The conflict between illusion and reality is portrayed evidently throughout The Great Gatsby. Similarly, Jay Gats