Myrtle's Ambition In The Great Gatsby

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Although the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald emphasizes the parties and prosperity of the American 1920's, it reveals many major characters meeting tragic ends. The characters who meet these ends - Jay Gatsby, Myrtle Wilson, and George Wilson - possess the same tragic characteristic: they endeavor for something more out of their lives than what they have. This ambition for what they could not have ultimately spelled their doom: Gatsby wanted money and Daisy; Myrtle wanted wealth and luxury, and sought it from Tom Buchanan; Wilson earned what he could only to please Myrtle. The Great Gatsby reveals a tragic nature through the trials and tribulations these characters endure to progress and prosper, only to receive death for their ambition. The exciting and wild time period of the "Roaring Twenties" provides a stark contrast to the deaths in order to further highlight the tragic nature of the novel, and leaves a theme that even those with the most hope and strong ambitions can fail and die miserably, no matter how much money they have. Not just device to stir the conflict, Myrtle possesses her own snuffed-out dreams and tragic end. Myrtle radiates "an immediately perceptible vitality" (Fitzgerald 25) to attract Tom, and she uses that to escape her life with Wilson by making bold moves like "walking through her husband as if he were a ghost [...] looking him [Tom] straight in the eye" (Fitzgerald 25). A desperate Myrtle tries to secure Tom in hopes of a better life, her fleeting chance to…show more content…
Myrtle is slain by her quest for capital; Wilson becomes insane from his wife's affair and subsequent death; and Gatsby loses what he looked for his entire life, the past. All of these characters prove the tragic message that no matter one's dreams or ambitions, no matter one's money or determination, they can still fail or even die as a result of their
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