Examples Of Moral Ambiguity In The Great Gatsby

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How Jay Gatsby is Morally Ambiguous and its Significance In fictional literature, morally ambiguous characters cannot be characterized as purely good or purely evil. These complex characters play pivotal roles in many acclaimed novels, like the main character Jay Gatsby in F.S. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In this novel, the author portrays Gatsby as a morally ambiguous character whose pure desire for Daisy’s love may have progressively changed into immoral desires. Gatsby’s moral ambiguity helps express one of the novel’s critical themes: the corrupt American Dream of the 1920s, a false ideal that influenced people to futilely pursue dreams of wealth and status. Gatsby’s corrupt route to immense wealth, as well as the façade he puts…show more content…
Gatsby’s pursuit for love is a timeline detailing the change of the real American Dream into the corrupt version. To Gatsby, Daisy’s love is once the “fresh, green breast of the new world.” (171) This love is pure and strong, as was the American society’s belief once that discovery and hard work would reward one’s own desires. However, even Gatsby realizes he “paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.” (153) He was trying, at all costs, to fulfill the impossible task--the corrupt dream--of wooing the heart of a married woman, even a woman as shallow as Daisy. Likewise, the original American Dream deteriorates to the assumption that status symbols like wealth equals success. People have lost their own ability to determine what they want and have succumbed to society’s great pressure that money is the answer to everything. As a result, citizens became willing to do anything to chase wealth. Gatsby chases the same dream for too long, becoming an illegal bootlegger who hides behind a façade along the way, while similarly, the general public fails to realize a whole life of hard work does not guarantee wealth and happiness. The corrupt American Dream is just an illusion that the people of the 1920s are victims of because it is impossible to achieve. In the end, both Gatsby and the American people of the 1920s wear themselves out pursuing false hopes that they thought were
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