Villain, Hero, or Victim?

Category: Heroes, Villain
Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
Pages: 3 Views: 1036

Jay Gatsby is one of America’s most prized antagonists who the reader genuinely wants to believe in but his personae of a hero is falsely presented and admired. Characters are commonly placed in either the hero or villain category, but Gatsby is the exception because he exhibits more qualities of a victim. Gatsby has fallen victimized by Daisy’s guise. During the initial relationship between Daisy and Gatsby in Kentucky, Daisy continues to encourage Gatsby’s affections even though she knows that there is no future with Gatsby.

Gatsby is not and will never be aristocratic and in his pursuit of the impossible, Gatsby loses his identity along the way. A victim is defined as a person who has been harmed or tricked, and Gatsby unquestionably falls prey to Daisy’s ability to “smash up things and creatures and then retreat back into her money or … vast carelessness…” Before Gatsby and Daisy even met, Gatsby had set a goal to leave behind his poor roots and create a successful life full of wealth.

Gatsby in the summer of 1924 has accomplished exactly that but because of his encounter with Daisy his initial dream changes and becomes further complicated because it now depends on the actions of another person. After Daisy and Gatsby’s month of romance, Gatsby has tacked on the ambition to not only become wealthy and successful for himself, but for the hope that Daisy will acknowledge his prosperity and select Gatsby as her husband. Daisy presents Gatsby with a false sense of hope because she knew all along that money was not enough, she must be involved with an aristocratic society.

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This fictitious sense of hope causes Gatsby to attain the maximum amount of money in the minimum amount of time; even it is accomplished in unsavory ways. Gatsby is victimized by Daisy’s lies and becomes a criminal just to satisfy Daisy’s needs. His criminal activity caused as a result by Daisy’s actions lead Gatsby into a downward spiral that is recognizable throughout the novel with the endless parties. Now that Gatsby has acquired his great wealth, he decides to attract Daisy by throwing ostentatious parties that attract people like kids flocking to the wonders of a circus.

The never ending flamboyant parties become so vast, that the host morphs into a ghostlike entity with his presence known lurking around the parties every once in a while without being recognized as an actual man. Gatsby becomes this grand and mysterious socialite who not known by the own people who visit his house. His personality does not exist for the partygoers, so they have to create their own versions of the great Jay Gatsby. Gatsby does not bother with making friends while he is in West Egg because his only goal is to attract the attention of Daisy.

Because he does not socialize, he has lived the life of a hermit creating new ways to fascinate Daisy while Daisy is out living her life without the slightest memory of Gatsby. Daisy does not acknowledge the presence of others unless they are some use to her, and manipulation and deceit towards Gatsby only continues to escalate as the novel progresses. The final victimized act of Gatsby’s life occurs when takes the blame for Daisy’s actions against Myrtle that eventually lead to his death. Just before Daisy’s hits Myrtle with Gatsby’s car, Daisy has chosen to stay with Tom because of Gatsby’s suspicious business practices.

However Gatsby still believes that Daisy will come back to him because she never outright admitted to loving Tom. Just like Gatsby and Daisy’s month of love, Daisy is never able to tell Gatsby the truth and completely end her relationship with Gatsby because she likes the power. In both cases Gatsby is presented with the false sense of hope and once again becomes the victim of Daisy’s fun and games. Daisy is too selfish to realize that she is playing with someone’s life and her actions could have long term consequences to others.

Up until the very end Daisy continues to manipulate Gatsby like an inconsiderate puppet master. She controls the strings of Gatsby’s life, but when things get messy Daisy takes the quickest way out, to remove her fragile societal image from the dubious situation. Daisy’s influence on Gatsby turned him from a strong-willed man who created a destiny to make himself a better man to a disappointed fool who modeled his life actions after the feelings of another. Gatsby has become the ultimate victim to the alluring qualities of a woman and never has the chance to recover.

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Villain, Hero, or Victim?. (2017, Mar 31). Retrieved from

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