Morals and Ethics in The Great Gatsby

Morals and Ethics in The Great Gatsby

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Most self respecting people have ethics and morals they try to abide by. They create standards that they live life by and construct their own philosophy with. In the novel The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, morals and ethics are a scarce practice. Jay Gatsby lives his life by the over bearing morals and values of devotion, corruption, and his will to control.
Gatsby has an uncanny devotion for the things and people he desires. Gatsby is a poor man who feels that he can win his love Daisy back, if he achieves enough material wealth. When he first meets Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby commits "himself to the following of a grail" (156). After five years of separation, he will do anything in his power to win her love back. Everything he does, up to this point is directed toward winning Daisy's favor and having her back in his life. The greatest example of his devotion towards Daisy is the mansion he constructs, "a colossal affair by any standard...with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden" (9). Once a "penniless young man without a past" (156), he transforms himself into a self-made millionaire and builds an extravagant mansion without having any history of family wealth. He also strategically places the mansion across the lake from Daisy's house. From his window, Gatsby can see the blue colored lights of her house. Even though she is marries to Tom Buchanan and has a daughter, he "revalues everything in his house according to the amount of response it draws from her well loved eyes" (96). But in the end, Gatsby's insurmountable devotion to Daisy won't be enough to win her over. He dedicates so much of his life just to be with her and ultimately it won't make any difference in the long run.
Gatsby also displays examples of corruption through his acquisition of wealth. Gatsby's business dealings are not clear. He admits to his neighbor, Nick that he is "in the drug store business" (95). The drug store business during prohibition means that the person is a bootlegger. Bootlegging is a highly profitable business and bootleggers are commonly associates with gangsters who commit harsh and cruel deeds. The society Gatsby wants to be a part of is based on money and power, not faith and love.

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Gatsby finds himself strained to earn his money through unlawful activities and gambling. He becomes accustomed to this glamorous life style so he sees nothing wrong with these activities because they are part of his dream. From a young age Gatsby corrupts himself because he is distressed with his social status. He always wishes he was born rich, as Nick says, "his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents" (104). He wants to improve his way of living, but at the same time, he feels that he can't move up in society. When he does more immoral deeds later in his life he tries to justify them by saying that they were all for the love of Daisy. However this is not true; he does everything to better his social standing. When he changes his name, he takes the first step towards reinventing himself into a person he saw in his dreams. He is corrupt before he meets Daisy, and he becomes more sinister in his quest to get her back. Daisy seems so unobtainable to him and that makes him want her more and more. The only consequences of being a criminal are being able to enjoy a luxurious life later on in life.
Throughout the story, Jay Gatsby will try to make everything form to his will and be in control. An example of this is when Gatsby first meets Daisy Buchanan at Nick's house for tea. "Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place" (91). Gatsby nearly breaks a clock in Nick's house, showing the reality that he wants to stop time so he can experience this moment with Daisy forever. Another way that Gatsby believes he can control the world, for his own benefits, is when he states that he believes that the past is repeatable. ‘"Can't repeat the past?" He cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!" He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand"' (116). This also shows that he wants to restructure the world, just as it is when he first meets Daisy before he went off to war. Since Gatsby constantly tries to reconstruct the world for himself, he is hopeless because not everything is going to change for his own will in a realistic world. This shows how Gatsby tries to create his own perfect world only for himself, which merely exists in just his imagination. A way that he helps to create another world for himself is through embellishing reality. The biggest consequence from this idea is that Gatsby would be abruptly woken up when everything doesn't go his way.
Everyone tries to enforce their own morals and standard in their everyday life. But sometimes, they don't always result positively. Unfortunately for Jay Gatsby, the ultimate consequence of his actions would be his very own tragic death.
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