gatmoral Moral Responsibility in The Great Gatsby

gatmoral Moral Responsibility in The Great Gatsby

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Moral Responsibility in The Great Gatsby


      Bang!  Gatsby's dead!  George Wilson shot Gatsby!  However, who is

morally responsible for killing Gatsby?  The obvious answer would be George

since he pulled the trigger.  However, it is clear, if for no other reason

than for the unimportance of George in the book, that others were also

partly responsible.  In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom,

Daisy, and George are morally responsible for the death of Gatsby.


      Tom, because of his tattling on Gatsby, can be morally blamed for

the murder of Gatsby.  When George talked to him, Tom told George it was

Gatsby's car that hit Myrtle, but he failed to mention that it was Daisy

driving.  Even though it was never directly mentioned, it is shown that Tom

knew Daisy was the one who killed Myrtle when Nick said, "...and anybody

would have said that they were conspiring together," (p.146) when referring

to Tom and Daisy talking in their house.  This "conspiring" was probably a

plan to get Daisy away from the whole incident.  Furthermore, Tom and Daisy

leave town the next day, proving Tom's knowledge of Daisy's guilt by just

trying to escape with her.  Even knowing this, Tom still had the indecency

to tell George it was Gatsby's car.  Tom can also be morally blamed for the

killing of Gatsby because of his affair with Myrtle.  George killed Gatsby

not only because he thought he killed Myrtle, but also because he was under

the impression that Gatsby was the one having the affair with his wife.

Tom knew George was thinking this and when George talked to him, Tom seized

his opportunity to get off the hook for his sin and directed it to Gatsby,

making himself even more morally incorrect for doing it.  It is clearly

justifiable to blame Tom for Gatsby's death.


      Daisy can also be put morally responsible for Gatsby's death.  Her

bad morals relating to Gatsby's death are displayed when Gatsby said,

"Anyhow - Daisy stepped on it.  I tried to make her stop, but she

couldn't..." (p.145) Daisy was not morally responsible enough to stop the

car after she hit Myrtle.  She would also not take the rap for driving the

car later, but instead, left town.

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  This left Gatsby in trouble because

George thought Gatsby was driving the car, which partly provoked the murder.

 Even if George didn't kill Gatsby, Daisy's behavior still would have left

Gatsby in trouble with the police.  Daisy's immorality in the period after

she hit Myrtle lead to Gatsby's death.


      A final person who can be morally blamed for Gatsby's death is

George.  George's immoral action was him killing Gatsby, inferred by the

lines, "The chauffeur - he was one of Wolfsheim's protege's - heard the

shots..." (p.162)  George was morally responsible for no reason other than

for pulling the trigger.  Even though he was victimized by the immorality

of the rich, George still had no right to put a bullet through Gatsby's

head.  Murder is an immoral act no matter what the circumstances.  Instead,

George should have let justice take its course and have the police handle

the situation.  Because of him actually pulling the trigger, George is, in

part, morally responsible for Gatsby's death.


      Tom, Daisy and George are morally responsible for the murder of

Gatsby.  In every crime or wrongdoing, the moral responsibility of the

outcome can be placed on at least one person.  This is the person who

committed the act and usually receives all the blame for it.  However,

often times, other individuals must take some of the moral responsibility

for one of these actions.  Daisy and Tom have to be given some of the blame

of Gatsby's death because of their terrible morals which caused it.


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