Lies and Deciet in The Great Gatsby

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Lying has deadly effects on both the individual who lies and those around them. This concept is demonstrated in The Great Gatsby. Although Gatsby, Tom and Myrtle have different motives for being deceitful, they all lie in order to fulfill their desires and personal needs. Myrtle’s desire to be wealthy is illustrated when she first meets Tom, dressed in his expensive clothing, as her attitude changes when she puts on the luxurious dress and when she encourages Tom to buy her a dog. Tom’s deception is clear when he hides his affair with Myrtle by placing Myrtle in a different train, withholding the truth from Mr. Wilson of the affair and convincing Myrtle and Catherine that he will one day marry Myrtle. Gatsby tries to convince himself and others that he is the son of wealthy people, he creates an appearance that he is a successful, educated man through the books in his library and assures himself that Daisy loves him. Tom’s dishonesty reveals that he is selfish, while Gatsby’s distortions expose his insecurities, and Myrtle’s misrepresentations show that her sole focus in life is to achieve materialistic success. Gatsby and Myrtle both lie in order to obtain the “American dream.” However, Tom, who appears to already have achieved the “American dream”, deceives others out of boredom and because he takes his wealthy lifestyle for granted. F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates the human flaw of dishonesty for personal gain and how lies have inevitably tragic consequences in his characterization of Gatsby, Myrtle and Tom.

Jay Gatsby is dishonest to himself to and those around him which ultimately leads to his failure. He lies about his past, his family, and his accomplishments in order to achieve his version of the American dream, which ...

... middle of paper ... all the more despicable. They are intended only to maintain his image and mask his selfishness.

Gatsby, Myrtle and Tom lie to themselves and others through their words and actions. Gatsby and Myrtle attempt to be social climbers; Gatsby loves the idea of Daisy and Myrtle loves the idea of Tom and what he can provide for her. They both try to appear as someone they are not: Gatsby tries to appear as a successful man who comes from a wealthy family while Myrtle longs to appear as an upper class woman. Their lies have tragic results since Myrtle, Gatsby and Mr. Wilson all die needlessly. However, Tom, who seems to be successful, lies because he is selfish and thinks only about fulfilling his personal needs. Clearly, The Great Gatsby demonstrates that deceiving others, for any reason, inevitably leads to tragedy for the individual and others who touch their lives.
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