They understand this by the end of the play or novel.
Unlike Romeo, Gatsby is completely idealistic in his love for Daisy—he’ll do anything for her, but she wouldn’t do the same for him. Gatsby is so busy reaching for an ideal that he’s never satisfied.
He surrounds himself with money and parties even though he doesn’t take any real pleasure from them. When he finally gets the girl, he still isn’t satisfied. So it doesn’t matter if some people say Snape isn’t, as long as you can back your writing up with evidence that he is.
Don’t worry if it isn’t all completely clear right now …
I’ll explain in more detail what makes a character “tragic” and give you some tragic hero examples you can use as inspiration in your own essay.
Romeo’s obsessive love is what causes him to kill himself at the thought of Juliet being dead (if he had held out another hour or two, he would’ve been fine).
And inadvertently, it’s Romeo’s suicide that causes Juliet’s death.
Okay, so you might be wondering what a tragic hero is exactly.
The name is a pretty good clue—a hero or protagonist that is, in some way, tragic. A tragic hero is a character, usually the main character, who makes a mistake in judgment that ultimately leads to his or her undoing.
Even if it’s technically by the hand of someone else, if it can be traced back to the flaw of the hero, it makes the situation tragic.
Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his indecisiveness and obsession.