Throughout The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby plays the main character. He is slowly introduced and revealed by Nick Carraway, his neighbor. Gatsby does both right and wrong things, he has acquired his great amounts of wealth through shady business and all to attain a financial situation that is equivalent to that of his love, Daisy Buchanan. Those actions and motives makes him a morally ambiguous character and greatly contributes to some of the bigger themes in the story as well as furthering the main plot.
There are two sides to Jay Gatsby, a lovesick and determined young man that represents hope and loyalty, and a shady, corruptive man that represent his decay of morality. He is known all over the city for his extravagant parties full of alcohol and jazz music. This makes his name well known all over New York city, but he maintains the hard facts of him and his past hidden. He associates with a man who Gatsby claims “fixed the World’s Series back in 1919. ” and he’s in the business of bootlegging (illegal trafficking of liquor).
Although Gatsby sounds like a despicable man he does all of this to reach his dream who is Daisy buchanan. Jay Gatsby has been emotionally loyal to Daisy since they fell in love when he was a young soldier, but she is already married and is part of an “aristocratic” class that ridicule people like Gatsby. When they are reunited Gatsby yearns for her approval by showing of his imported clothes and grand home and feeling helpless when she doesn’t enjoy his parties.
These contradictions are sustainable proof of Gatsby’s moral ambiguity. Gatsby’s obsession with repeating the past is what results in his moral ambiguity and makes everything else servile to his dream. Bootlegging and fixing world series’s all seem like nothing if it means it’ll help him get to a financial level close to daisy’s. His shady business affairs and hopeful dreaming deepen the main plot and contribute to the theme of the american dream that is extremely present throughout the whole story.
Gatsby is able to attain his dream but in a non decent way that leaves people wondering if it was worth it or if that was the only way. He represents the rebellion and lack of morality of the 1920’s and the ostentatious ways in which the newly rich of the time live. Gatsby’s moral ambiguity can be shown through his determination to attain the one he loves, even if it means becoming a criminal. It contributes to various themes and lessons taught by the novel, like the dangers of not leaving the past behind.