Wealth and Glamour in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

1379 Words6 Pages
The Great Gatsby set in the glistening and glittering world of wealth and glamour of 1920s Jazz Age in America. However, the story of the poor boy who tried to fulfill the American Dream of living a richer and fuller life ends in Gatsby’s demise. One of the reasons for the tragedy is the corrupting influence of greed on Gatsby. As soon as Gatsby starts to see money as means of transforming his fantasy of winning Daisy’s love into reality, his dream turns into illusion. However, other characters of the novel are also affected by greed. On closer inspection it turns out that almost every individual in the novel is covetous of something other people have. In this view, the meaning of greed in the novel may be varied The greed is universally seen as desire for material things. However, in recent studies the definition of “greed” has come to include sexual greed and greed as idolatry, understood as fascination with a deity or a certain image (Rosner 2007, p. 7). The extended definition of greed provides valuable framework for research on The Great Gatsby because the objects of characters’ desires can be material, such as money and possessions, or less tangible, such as love or relationship. The concept of greed, which was previously centered on consumption, is currently associated with material accumulation and seen as a self-conscious material vice (Robertson 2001, p. 76). Further analysis singles out several types of greed for money and possessions: greed as service and obedience to wealth, greed as love and devotion to wealth, greed as trusting in wealth (Rosner 2007, p. 11). The characters of The Great Gatsby portray all of the aforementioned types of greed. For instance early in the story Gatsby becomes aware of “the youth and m... ... middle of paper ... ... but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find” (Fitzerald 118). Having devoted many years to this dream the character fails to recognize that his only motivation all along was greed so his dream never comes true. The Great Gatsby shows the readers that people can be greedy of almost anything: material possessions, love, relations, energy, time, memories. What tells greed from other desires is not the object or item the person wants to acquire. It is the intensity of the desire and the part of the item or object that a person covets that define greed. The characters of the novel wanted to have absolute power and control over money, material possessions, other people and their feelings. The characters fail to recognize that the true reason for many of their actions is greed and it leads to their moral corruption.
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