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Gatsby is a hero because he achieves the American Dream. The ability to transcend his meagre past to achieve the life of the ultra rich is still something Americans covet. His tragedy is of course something or somebody that he can't have. Daisy haunts his every minute. Gatsby can buy anything he wants but he can't buy love. Gatsby is the man everybody wants to know but nobody wants to really get to know. His heroic climb from rags to riches, in the end, doesn't seem to matter.