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

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 2 (798 words) Published: August 27, 2013
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 cheating on her, as she was too weak to follow her conscience and wait for Gatsby to return from the war. Nick, the narrator of the novel and her second cousin once removed, expects her to “rush out, child in arms” (chapter 1), but she stays in her unhappy marriage. Thus it is clear that Daisy is rather shallow, and without enough confidence to contravene social conventions. Having this in mind, one cannot be sure if she would resolve to go with Gatsby, once it comes to a conflict with her husband Tom. This conflict is easily predictable with the knowledge about Tom Buchannan’s character. He is an aggressive, “unrestful” (chapter 1) man, bursting with potency and confidence, but already behind his zenith, as his best years were those in college. He would never tolerate a rival, even though he has an affair himself. The way he and his wife are living contains signs of tragedy as well: they both are eternally restless, chasing after pleasure and trying to fulfil themselves with enormous spending of money. Fitzgerald criticises the high-society’s vulgar pursuit of material happiness of his time with these characters. He uses zephyr, blowing wind, to symbolise the Buchannan’s chaotic lifestyle. Already in his first appearance, Jay...
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