Scott Fitzgerald in his work “Great Gatsby”ť depicts a variety of characters among which it is actually quite difficult to find a really noble person. Nevertheless, there are some characters which are or pretend to be noble idealists, among which it is possible to distinguish Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan.
Speaking about Tom, it is necessary to point out that he originates from a noble family and pretends that he is a noble and idealistic man but in actuality he is absolutely opposite to the public image he attempts to create. In fact, Tom doesn’t have any purpose in the life. It seems as if he “would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game”ť (Fitzgerald, 6). Tom attempts to find receive positive emotions and he believe that he can buy everything with his money. He is sure that money can give him everything he wants and such attitude to money overshadows his noble origin and makes him a pragmatic, materialist person seeking for personal benefits in relationships with other people whom he plays as puppets. Moreover, he proves to be immoral even in relationships with his own wife for he has a mistress Myrtle. But he does not really love even his mistress whom he demands a total obedience. Thus, she means nothing for him as well as his own wife. IN fact, Tom is cynic, immoral man. For instance, he reveals his hypocrisy when he becomes furious when he guesses about close relations between Gatsby and Daisy but, at the same time, he does not do anything to help his wife when she kills Myrtle. In this situation, it would be more natural for a noble and idealist man who loves his wife to act as Gatsby does but Tom demonstrates his indifference to Daisy’s fate. Even though he does not love his wife, Tom uses his wealth as the mean to keep Daisy as his wife, as his toy.
In stark contrast, Gatsby does not originate from a noble family. In fact, “his parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people ”“ his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all”ť (Fitzgerald, 99). Nevertheless, he proves to be the only person in the novel who is not corrupted by his money and who preserved internal nobility and remained an irrevocable idealist. He even invented himself for “Jay Gatsby”¦ sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God”¦ So he invented ”¦. Jay Gatsby”¦ and to this conception he was faithful to the end”ť (Fitzgerald, 99). To meet his actual position to his ideal, he works hard. In fact, everything he has in his life is his own gains, unlike Tom who actually does nothing but waste money which he takes for granted. In contrast, Gatsby earns for living through the hard work and his environment, his cars, clothes, mansion, everything are the result of his toil. This means that he is an honest, noble man who knows what it means to earn money, while Tom knows only how to waste them and, therefore, he is an egoist who takes everything he receives in his life for granted. Moreover, all these labors of Gatsby do not target his personal wealth but he simply wants to return Daisy whom he loves without response. He is sure that only a serious social position and money can help him realize his intentions. This is why he believes that his possessions will convince his golden girl to forget the past five years of her life and marry him. In fact, with the help of his wealth Gatsby attempts to convince Daisy that he is worthy of her attention and love but she shatters his dream by preferring Tom instead of him and after that Gatsby has no need for any of his possessions (Lee Brian, American Fiction 1865-1940). In such a way, Gatsby proves that money is just a tool to meet his ideal and he demonstrates his nobility when he is ready to sacrifice his own future, his life for the sake of Daisy, the only woman he loves. Moreover, unlike Tom who has a mistress, Gatsby is unable to deceive Daisy. Instead, he is ready to wait for her to call him until the very moment he dies. Consequently, Gatsby is a real noble and idealist man, unlike hypocritical and deceitful Tom whose nobility and idealism are just a fake.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that both characters of the novel seem to be noble and idealistic at first glance. In actuality, both proves to be far from perfect since Tom as well as Gatsby use people as toys. Â For instance, Tom uses Myrtle, while Gatsby uses the butlers and the cooks to organize his parties.
Nevertheless, Gatsby is more noble and ideal since his perception of himself and his love to Daisy are absolutely idealistic, if not to say naĂŻve, pure and, therefore, noble, while Tom just pretends to be a noble and idealist man since, in actuality, the only noble thing Tom has is his origin but in real life he deceives his wife, leads purposeless life for his own pleasure, paying no attention to other people. This is why it is possible to estimate that Gatsby, even though he is imperfect, is the only really noble and idealist man.