Essay on The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

884 Words 4 Pages
Human beings are fickle creatures that exhibit the wildest characteristics. Often unpredictable in behavior but predictable in thought, people are prone to act in certain ways based on how they were raised or on what they believe. F. Scott Fitzgerald perfectly encompasses this fickleness in his novel The Great Gatsby. Set in the 1920’s, his novel uses a variety of characters where each have their own uncertain ethics and, subsequently, behavioral patterns. The moral ambiguity of Fitzgerald’s characters illustrates the cruel reality of human nature. Tom Buchanan’s moral ambiguity originates from his hunger for power. This desire for power is emphasized by a hobby he has: reading “the Rise of the Coloured Empires,” which he claims is about whites being the “dominant race” (Fitzgerald 17). Along with his taste in literature, his fascination with power is illustrated by his reaction to losing those he has power over. For example, after the death of his mistress, Myrtle, Tom Buchanan says afterward nothing regarding the death of Myrtle, but of the murderer. Using those words, Tom further emphasizes that his focus is not on his love for his mistress but the fact that he no longer has power over her (149). Alone, those actions do not constitute a morally ambiguous character, but Tom’s vague ethics are solidified when finding the reasoning behind his desire for power. The hunger for having dominance over others could stem from various reasons: protecting the weak, gaining wealth,…

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