Christ Like Figure In The Great Gatsby

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Gatsby: The Christ of the 20s In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby captures the persona of a Christ-like figure. A Christ-like figure is any character that is portrayed to have similar characteristics to Jesus. For any character to considered a Christ-like figure, they must exhibit certain traits or perform certain actions, such as being self-sacrificing, spending time in the wilderness, or having followers (Foster 126). A character’s life, however, does not need to exemplify that of Jesus’s life to fall into this category. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald employs religious allusions and symbols to portray Jay Gatsby as a Christ-like figure. One of the most noticeable ways Fitzgerald uses symbolism to depict Gatsby…show more content…
It is no secret that Jesus is often portrayed as an otherworldly figure and often times not viewed as having true human parents. Despite this fact, Jesus still loved Mary and Joseph for taking care of him as a child. Gatsby, like Jesus, has a father and mother that took care of him as a child, but Gatsby “has never really accepted them as his own parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby … sprang from his Platonic conception of himself” (Fitzgerald 98). This quote provides us with the detail that Gatsby has the notion that he was never born to human parents because he views himself as superior to not only them, but Jesus Christ. Gatsby believes he was born to himself whereas Jesus relied upon God to give him life (Dilworth 120). Strengthening this comparison, Fitzgerald tells the reader through the voice of Nick that “[Gatsby] was a son of God-- a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that-- and that he should be about His Father’s business” (Fitzgerald 98). Fitzgerald is comparing this allusion to the book of Luke when Jesus tells Mary that he must be about his “Father’s business” (Luke 2.49). Jesus and Gatsby are both referring to God when they say they are responsible to carry out their Father’s business, while also declaring independence from their biological parents (Dilworth 120). With…show more content…
As Jesus was put to death by crucifixion, he was forced to carry his own cross on his shoulders. When he arrived at Calvary his arms were outstretched and nailed to the cross, a position that he was to stay in until he died. Similarly, “Gatsby shouldered the mattress and started for the pool,” which unbeknownst to Gatsby at the time, would be the place of his death (Fitzgerald 161). This depiction of Gatsby shouldering his mattress is reminiscent of the way that Jesus held the cross over one shoulder. On Gatsby’s way to the swimming pool, “he stopped and shifted it a little, and the chauffeur asked him if he needed help” (161). If Gatsby took up his chauffeur’s offer, the chauffeur would have represented Simon of Cyrene, but Gatsby refuses and finishes walking to the pool himself (Dilworth 119). After Gatsby’s death, the mattress is found in the water and its movement creates “a thin red circle in the water” (Fitzgerald 162). This mixture of blood and water alludes to when Roman soldiers stabbed Jesus in the side after it was discovered that he had already died and “blood and water” flowed out from his side (Dilworth 119). Through this symbolism, it is clear to see that Fitzgerald is drawing parallels from the crucifixion of Jesus and the death of Gatsby, further cementing Gatsby as a representative of a Christ-like

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