Villain, Hero, or Victim?
Jay Gatsby is one of America’s most prized antagonists who the reader genuinely wants to believe in but his personae of a hero is falsely presented and admired. Characters are commonly placed in either the hero or villain category, but Gatsby is the exception because he exhibits more qualities of a victim. Gatsby has fallen victimized by Daisy’s guise. During the initial relationship between Daisy and Gatsby in Kentucky, Daisy continues to encourage Gatsby’s affections even though she knows that there is no future with Gatsby. Gatsby is not and will never be aristocratic and in his pursuit of the impossible, Gatsby loses his identity along the way. A victim is defined as a person who has been harmed or tricked, and Gatsby unquestionably falls prey to Daisy’s ability to “smash up things and creatures and then retreat back into her money or … vast carelessness…” Before Gatsby and Daisy even met, Gatsby had set a goal to leave behind his poor roots and create a successful life full of wealth. Gatsby in the summer of 1924 has accomplished exactly that but because of his encounter with Daisy his initial dream changes and becomes further complicated because it now depends on the actions of another person. After Daisy and Gatsby’s month of romance, Gatsby has tacked on the ambition to not only become wealthy and successful for himself, but for the hope that Daisy will acknowledge his prosperity and select Gatsby as her husband. Daisy presents Gatsby with a false sense of hope because she knew all along that money was not enough, she must be involved with an aristocratic society. This fictitious sense of hope causes Gatsby to attain the maximum amount of money in the minimum amount of time; even it is accomplished in unsavory ways. Gatsby is victimized by Daisy’s lies and becomes a criminal just to satisfy Daisy’s needs. His criminal activity caused as a result by Daisy’s actions lead Gatsby into a downward spiral that is...
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