The Foreshadowing of Tragedy in the First Five Chapters of "The Great Gatsby"

782 Words Aug 17th, 2013 4 Pages
How does Fitzgerald foreshadow tragedy in the first five chapters of "THE GREAT GEÀTSBY"?

A reader who is skimming through the novel „The Great Gatsby“ by F. Scott Fitzgerald might consider a happy ending by the end of the fifth chapter, however at a slightly more detailed look there are clear signs that indicate that a tragic and miserable ending is the only possible one. This essay will be looking at how Fitzgerald foreshadows tragedy, and how he presents tragedy in the lives of the novel’s characters.
One of the indicators for Gatsby’s failure is the unstableness of the characters he is depending on. This begins with the woman he loves, Daisy Buchannan. Daisy’s life is a tragedy in its own, because she married the wrong man, who is
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Involuntarily I glanced seaward - and distinguished nothing except a single green light […]” (chapter 1). Later it becomes clear that the green light comes from Daisy Buchannan’s dock, it is a symbol of Gatsby’s desire to win her back. His unquestioning love for Daisy made him follow her for five years and buy a huge mansion next to her. It is the contrast between the two that indicates a tragedy: whereas Gatsby would do anything to fulfil his dream, Daisy is more likely to stay in the safe live she is – and it is clear that Gatsby would not be able to live without her. Besides, Nick describes him being “pale as death” (chapter 5) when he waits for Daisy to arrive. This foreshadows the bad influence Daisy will have on him.
In chapter four Nick describes Gatsby’s party guests. Although he does not say it, it is clear that he sees them as superficial, materialistic and immoral: “they were never quite the same ones in physical person, but they were so identical one with another that it inevitably seemed that they had been there before”. These people always use the situation for their profit and they gossip about Gatsby’s history at his own party. None of them can be regarded as a friend who would support Gatsby in case of a conflict. In Fitzgerald’s view, America’s white high-society is tragic, because it postulates morality, but is false and superficial.

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