The Causes of Gatsby’s Tragedy
3.1 Social reality leading to his failure and tragedy
The central object of The Great Gatsby is clearly Gatsby himself, a much glamorized character by Scott Fitzgerald, ennobled and dignified by a dream to which he is so faithful and devoted, though betrayed by it in the end. Gatsby is the one that Fitzgerald regards as admirable and romantic hero that is too rare in a period which has no ideals beyond material satisfaction, despite his own limitations and his shady operations as bootlegging. Gatsby’s failure has its own social reasons. In emphasizing Gatsby’s uniqueness as the last frontiersman and dreamer, Fitzgerald indicts a society which can neither ...view middle of the document...
”(Donalson 1984:27) For Gatsby too, money is a means to the realization of his dream rather than an end, which is the prototype of Gatsby’s American Dream. However, when it went into the Jazz Age named by Fitzgerald after the World War I, the American economy and culture stood at a strong transitional point, entering a chaotic and blundering atmosphere. The American Dream then turned out to be a dream for money worship and greed which led people to be selfish and indifferent and thought that money could buy everything including love. That is where Gatsby’s Tragedy lies. The way of Gatsby’s material success is totally an irony on the idealized dream to which he is faithful to the end. From his youth Gatsby sticks to the Franklin mode of self-improvement and tries to realize the American dream but fails, only to find his girl has been married to somebody wealthy when retired from the army. However, in the short five years that followed, Gatsby earned a fortune large enough to match Tom Buchanan’s, Ironically not through his hard-working, or sincere devotion or anything else that he so believes before, but through bootlegging under the covering of some “gonnegtions.”(P69) Gatsby, like many of the “newly rich” of the time, conducts a paradox ridiculously in accumulating his wealth, that is, playing hard while clinging to his unwavering conviction of the American dream. For he must realize that, in theory, the American continent is a paradise with opportunities for all and everybody can be successful only if he behaves well and works hard; but in reality, advancement and wealth is always in the hands of men like Dan Cody and Meyer Wolfsheim. Gatsby’s dream contradicts with the American reality. Tom finally wins back Daisy not by appealing to her love but to her snobbery, by insinuating how Gatsby’s way of making money has disqualified him from their leisure class, which exposes to us the essence of Gatsby’s fairy tale-like American dream.
3.1.2 The ruined moral concept
Daisy mingles up with rich and giddy people everyday. She is just an empty earthly beauty without any ideal and any goal. She views wealth as superior to love, which turns out the ending that she marries Tom whose identity and wealth matched her five years ago when Gatsby joined the army. But when she is attracted to the luxurious mansion by Gatsby, she admires his boundary ties; she wouldn’t show any real feeling towards Gatsby, because she knows that Gatsby’s does not belong to her class. Her husband indirectly kills Gatsby by making use of his love to Daisy and shows no sadness to his mistress death, but using this accident tactfully to pull Daisy out of trouble. Their crime to Gatsby symbolizes the cruel ravage by the upper class on Gatsby’s beautiful delusion. Gatsby gains nothing in return without realizing the indifference and cruelty of the upper class, the selfishness and hypercritics of Daisy that he pursues, which is doomed his failure.
3.1.3 The damaged value...