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Betrayal in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”

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The Great Gatsby is a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925. It is recognized as the “Great American Novel” as it shows great wealth, partying, jazz music and many other aspects of the “American Dream”. In his novel, he displays a lot of symbols, and themes including wealth, greed, and the most vivid, betrayal. Betrayal can upset many people and ruin many people. Betrayal was demonstrated throughout the entire novel with a lot of connections. Three situations will be examined, and they will be: Gatsby betrayed by Daisy, Tom cheats on Daisy with Myrtle and no one attends Gatsby’s funeral.

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The entrance of betrayal in the novel comes from Tom Buchanan’s love affair with “some woman in New York’” (Fitzgerald, 21). Tom’s disloyal acts are explicitly presented throughout the entire novel. Tom Buchanan is a supposed husband to Daisy Buchanan. It is morally wrong to be unfaithful to your significant other and isn’t acceptable in almost all places over the world.

The person Tom has an affair with is another character Myrtle Wilson, George Wilson’s wife. The two have been in an affair for a while and have continued with the relationship.

The irony of this situation is that when Tom notices Gatsby and Daisy’s love affair: “He was astounded. His mouth opened a little and he looked at Gatsby and then back at Daisy as if he had just recognized her as someone he knew a long time ago. ” (Fitzgerald, 119) This just shows Jay Gatsby’s lifelong goal was to get back the woman of his life, Daisy Buchanan, who is now married to Tim Buchanan. The two planned to wait until World War I was over and Gatsby would return home to marry her.

Then Gatsby is betrayed by Daisy as she leaves him and marries Tom Buchanan during wartime. Gatsby and Daisy are madly in love with each other and their affection is shown throughout the novel and a specific example follows when the two talks for the first time in five years: “Daisy’s face was smeared with tears… there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed without a word or a gesture of exultation well-being radiated from him and filled the little room. ” (Fitzgerald, 90) Gatsby and Tom had a heated argument about Daisy.

Daisy then left with Gatsby to his house. On their way to the house, they hit Myrtle with Gatsby’s car and drove off. Daisy then settles her differences with Tom and they get back together, leaving Gatsby alone and ignites his downfall: “Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table… He was talking intently across the table at her, and in his earnestness, his hand had fallen upon and covered her own. Once in a while she looked up at him and nodded in agreement. ” -Fitzgerald, 146

The end of chapter eight details the tragic events that ended Gatsby’s life. George Wilson, manipulated by Tom, kills Gatsby to seek justice. News spread about Gatsby’s death which caused a lot of traffic at his house; they weren’t people that knew him from a personal level but were journalists, photographers, police officers and other media positions. Everyone except Nick believed Gatsby was the killer of Myrtle and Wilson was “deranged by grief” (Fitzgerald, 164). The further investigation ended and then the funeral took place.

Gatsby’s body demanded Nick to call everyone that regularly attended the party to join him as he couldn’t do it alone: “Look here, old sport, you’ve got to get somebody for me. You’ve got to try hard. I can’t go through this alone. ” (Fitzgerald, 166) No one from the party showed, but only showed excuses. Tom and Daisy Buchanan moved and left no forward address, Meyer Wolfsheim was “tied up in some very important business and cannot get mixed up in this thing right now. ” (Fitzgerald, 166) None of Gatsby’s “friends” arranged meetings to pay their respects to Gatsby.

Nick, Gatsby’s father, Owl Eyes, and a few of Gatsby’s servants were the only people that attended the service. It wasn’t Gatsby feeling betrayed, but Nick also. The Great Gatsby displayed betrayal on a personal level. Fitzgerald did a tremendous job presenting betrayal through his characters, especially Tom Buchanan, who I believe is the most untrustworthy character in the book. This novel did a great job portraying betrayal as a disastrous feeling.


  1. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986. Print.

Cite this Betrayal in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”

Betrayal in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”. (2017, Jan 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/betrayal-in-f-scott-fitzgeralds-the-great-gatsby/

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