Dishonesty In The Great Gatsby Essay

1514 words - 6 pages

Lies are a treacherous thing, yet everyone tells a few lies during their lifetime. Deceit surrounds us all the time; even when one reads classic literature. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald makes dishonesty a major theme in his novel The Great Gatsby. The falsehoods told by the characters in this novel leads to inevitable tragedy when the truth is revealed.

Jay Gatsby, one of the main characters in the novel, fails to realize that when one tells a lie, it comes back to bite you. For example, he initially tells his neighbor, and potential friend Nick, that he had inherited his redundant sums of money from his family. One night, the night Gatsby reunites with Daisy, he and Nick are admiring his substantial house. During the conversation, Gatsby slips out, “It took me just three years to earn the money that bought it” (Fitzgerald 90). By this, one can see Gatsby lie about how he acquired the wealth he has. When Nick questions his inheritance of the money, Gatsby automatically stutters with another lie- that he lost his family fortune in the panic of the war and had to earn all the money again by himself. Gatsby may have not realized he let this lie slide out from under him due to the rush of emotions connected with the reunion of his long lost love. Nevertheless, he did lie to Nick about his past, along with many other people, including Daisy. When he and his love first meet, he lies to her and comes off as a rich, stable man, she would be lucky to fall in love with. This is not the case, however. He is not as innocent as to have just inherit the wealth he gloats. Fitzgerald states, “He might have despised himself, for he had certainly taken her under false pretenses. I don’t mean that he had traded his phantom millions, but he had deliberately given Daisy a sense of security; he let her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself-that he was fully able to take care of her. As a matter of fact, he had no such facilities-he had no comfortable family standing behind him...” (Fitzgerald 149). This quote distinctly exemplifies how Gatsby lies to Daisy in order to win her love. While Gatsby is still in the war, Daisy marries Tom. Daisy sends him a letter with the news, but the letter reaches Gatsby while he is still at Oxford. Nevertheless, he never gives up on ultimately stealing Daisy’s heart back from Tom. He knew she wanted a man of prosperity and constancy, and Gatsby was willing to scam, lie, cheat, and get into very dirty work just get Daisy into his life again. Even critics say “Gatsby's attempts to attain an ideal of himself and then to put this ideal to the service of another ideal, romantic love, are attempts to rise above corruption in all its forms” (Hermanson 1). In other words, Hermanson is saying Gatsby tries to cover up his offences with the justification that he cheated for passion Lying did not get Gatsby anywhere, though. Even through all that merciless, perilous, corrupt work to get Daisy back...

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