The Role Of Greed In The Great Gatsby

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Set in the lavish era of the 1920’s, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays the wealthy, yet sinful life of Jay Gatsby. When describing his character, Fitzgerald touches upon the three deadly sins: greed, envy and gluttony. James Gatz, having grown up in a small town to farmers, wished to make more of himself. Disowning his parents at a young age, he went off in search for money, and a new identity. “And when the TUOLOMEE left for the West Indies and the Barbary Coast Gatsby left too” (Fitzgerald 107). After leaving his small town, he became the acquaintance of Daisy, a young girl whom he falls in love with but eventually marries into “Old Money”. The root of Gatsby’s immorality comes from his envy over Tom’s marriage to Daisy. In…show more content…
In an attempt to win Daisy back from her lifestyle of “Old Money”, Gatsby becomes excessively greedy with his money. While he himself may not care about wealth, he knows Daisy does. Therefore, when Daisy comes to his mansion, he flaunts his expensive shirts. “‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.’” (99) In this moment, Gatsby makes it clear to Daisy that he could easily provide her with the same lifestyle she shares with Tom. Once Gatsby captures Daisy’s affection, he becomes full of greed and doesn’t want to believe she ever gave any of her love to Tom. “He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.’” (118) When Daisy states “‘Even alone I can’t say I never loved Tom,’ (142), Gatsby begins to feel a “touch of panic” (142). All of his parties, stories, and entire persona were all fabricated to win Daisy back. Yet, his greed does not falter, and Gatsby refuses to believe that Daisy will not be…show more content…
The nature of Gatsby’s parties greatly exhibit the sin of gluttony. Not only is there an excessive amount of food, but also liquor. People are also found in excess at these extravagant affairs. Owl Eyes, a frequent party attender, exclaims “‘Why, my God! they used to go there by the hundreds.’” (187), and that times he could not even enter the house. The behavior of the people at these parties grow to be more immoral as they became more filled with alcohol. Nick states “The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word” (44). Gatsby created these events in an attempt to lure Daisy over to his mansion, hoping she would be one of the uninvited who just show up. All of the people at his parties did not care much about Gatsby, as none of them attended his funeral; they were only there to eat, drink, and be merry. These attendees represent the majority of the wealthy society during the 1920’s. There was a surplus of leisure and wealth, and those who didn’t obtain a high status envied those who were able to. Those who were wealthy were greedy to become wealthier, and showed gluttony through their materialistic
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