The Ambiguous Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald´s The Great Gatsby Essay

The Ambiguous Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald´s The Great Gatsby Essay

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Qualities like absolute moral perfection are even less attainable than world peace, and they have no place in quality literature. No one relates to the main character that never lets his emotions get the better of him once in a while. Truly powerful characters require at least some degree of moral ambiguity. Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby engages in illegal liquor sales and business with the man who rigged the World Series, which combine with his purest of intentions and virtually universal kindness to create some definitely ambiguous morals. Due to that ambiguity, Gatsby’s character remains imperfect and one whom readers can entirely relate to, while promoting the prominent theme in the novel of the American Dream’s corruption by wealth.

Charismatic as Gatsby was, he attracted friends of every kind, with every kind of implication coming with them. Nick clearly considers Gatsby his best friend throughout the novel, notably remarking in the later portion of the book that “They’re a rotten crowd…You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together” (154). This was said after a particularly unfortunate series of events, which in the end proved the extent of his kindness and selflessness. He had risked everything he had, simply for one last push to try to get Daisy, and more or less failed. Then as Daisy drives away with him in the car, she hits and kills Myrtle Wilson, and Gatsby immediately decides to take the complete blame for it without a second thought. And after all of this, when he’s lost virtually everything he’s worked so long to attain, his only concern was if Daisy would call him. Compassion of that magnitude compelled Nick, Daisy, and many others to really care about him. On the other end of the spectrum,...


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... parties he hosted yet never attended, because they were all to attract Daisy’s attention. He became a bootlegger, albeit a wealthy one, simply with the hope that he could rise up into Daisy’s class, her being from a rich family and him from a poor one. Love is one goal that is always pure and noble. Gatsby sold alcohol in his drug-stores to get rich, but he didn’t just want to be rich. He held parties every night to attract prominent people, but he didn’t just want to attract prominent people. All he wanted was to become what Daisy wanted so they could be together again, this time for good. There aren’t many goals more pure than that.

Literary works like the Great Gatsby require a relatable character with an appropriate level of humanism, perfection turns most readers away.



Works Cited

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925

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