Love is one of the most intense emotions humans experience and for many, this love is not as pure as they may imagine. In The Great Gatsby, almost all the characters experience love, some more intensely than others. Gatsby’s experience with love is the most extreme and significant. It is his love for Daisy that stands out as it seems to differ from true love. Undeniably, Gatsby shows affection for Daisy but is this as intimate as Fitzgerald makes it seem? By examining the text of the novel, it becomes evident that in Gatsby’s eyes the idea of Daisy is more significant than she actually is.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, Gatsby is on a pursuit to complete his perfect image and loves Daisy not for who she is but rather for her importance in completing his goal. Gatsby’s unhappiness, love for wealth and status, and his intentions of proving his worth all support this conclusion.
Throughout the novel, Gatsby seems to be generally happy when Daisy is around him.
Though, when taking a closer look at Gatsby’s and Daisy’s interactions one can see that dolefulness and confusion are oftentimes present in Gatsby: “the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness” (Fitzgerald 92). This line follows Gatsby’s reunion with Daisy and shows that Gatsby is confused and surprisingly unhappy. Daisy is not what Gatsby had hoped and dreamed of.
Up until their reunion, Gatsby could not get his mind off of how amazing Daisy is. Once he is finally in her presence, he realizes that she is not as special as he imagined. However, following the reunion, Gatsby still seems to be chasing Daisy. The question then arises: why would Gatsby continue this chase for Daisy if he feels that she is not what he wishes and dreams of. The only logical explanation is that he is in love with her idea and continues to chase her in order to complete his perfect image. Simply, if one individual truly loves another they would look past their lover’s flaws or not see them at all. In Gatsby, this does not seem to be the case as he recognizes them with sadness and confusion, demonstrating that Daisy’s reality falls short of his idea of her.
Building on from the previous point, Daisy, part of a wealthy family with old money royalty and status is a perfect fit for Gatsby’s ideal image. The novel revolves around Gatsby’s chase for power, wealth, and status or in general a perfect image of himself to exhibit for the world. Gatsby has worked all his life trying to become the best version of himself and believes that Daisy is his missing piece. Everything he ever dreamt of is, in his eyes, displayed in Daisy and is the reason he “loves” her. Daisy’s marriage proves her status and wealth: “…the day before the wedding he [Tom] gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.” (Fitzgerald 74). This quotation demonstrates Daisy’s value and worth. It took a necklace worth three hundred and fifty thousand dollars for Daisy to marry Tom. Clearly, she is used to living in the upper class as she needed something of value to assure her that she would remain in her current position. Daisy is part of a rich and powerful family and Gatsby hopes to be rich and powerful as well. Gatsby’s desire for status, power, and most importantly, wealth, is evident after Gatsby devoted his life to bootlegging in order to achieve the sense of glamour and luxury that only the upper-class can afford. Aside from that, Gatsby mentions, “‘Her voice is full of money’” (Fitzgerald 115). Nick then proceeds to comment on Gatsby’s words and confirms that he is pleased with her voice. This proves why Gatsby would marry Daisy and how he interprets love. From Gatsby’s eyes, love solely depends on wealth, status, and power which is quite the opposite of true love and supports Gatsby’s love for the idea of Daisy and chase for his ideal image.
In correlation, Daisy is highly prized due to her beauty. She is described as being glamorous and attracts the attention of men. Due to Daisy’s physical appearance, there is competition around her: “It excited him too that many men already loved Daisy – it increased her value in his eyes” (Fitzgerald 141). Nick states that in Gatsby’s eyes Daisy’s value increases due to her beauty and popularity amongst men. Gatsby talks of Daisy as if she is some kind of trophy or piece of jewelry that can be worn for display. This is not something a person would say about his/her true love. Additionally, Gatsby is always trying to prove his worth; from owning an enormous mansion to hosting marvellous parties, he is constantly trying to prove how great he is. Gatsby believes that Daisy would fit perfectly with his goal of proving his worth as she is beautiful and sought after. Her beauty and popularity is part of Gatsby’s pursuit of completing his perfect image. Gatsby’s love focuses on her idea of being a trophy rather than an actual woman that he cares about, making the impurity in his love evident.
Gatsby, one of the most significant and unique characters in the novel, makes readers question the purity and truth of love. Throughout the novel, Nick makes it seem as if Gatsby’s love for Daisy is true and sincere. Though, solid evidence proves otherwise. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, Gatsby is chasing his ideal image and loves Daisy for her significance in completing this goal. Gatsby’s dolefulness around Daisy, chase and love for wealth and status, and his intentions of proving his worth all support the point of Gatsby loving only the idea of Daisy, not her true nature.