The theme of human corruption, its sources and consenquences, is a coomon concern among
writers from Shakespeare through J.D Salinger. Some suggest that it attacks from outside, while
others depict corruption occuring from within the individual. In the case if The Great Gatsby
and it's protagonist's fate, Fizgerald shows both factors at work. The moral climate of the
Roaring Twenties, Daisy Fay Buchanan's pernicious hold on him, and Jay Gatsby's own nature all
contribute to his tragic demise.
First, the loose morality of Dan Cody, Gatsby's unfortunate role model, and superficial
people who flock to Gatsby's parties contribute to Gatsby's downfall. Their examples encourages
Gatsby's interpretation of The American Dream- his naive belief is that money and social
standing are all that matter in his quest for Daisy. The self-absorbed debetants and their
drunken escorts are among those who "crash" his extravagent soirees. As Nick Carroway tells us,
"People were not invited- they went there." (pg.40) Shallow, corrupt people like Jordan Baker
gossip with reckless abandon about their mysterious host. Their careless, superficial attitudes
and wanton behaviour represent Fizgarald's depiction of the corrupt American Dream.
Another force of corruption responsible for Gatsby's fate is his obsession with a woman of
Daisy's nature. Determined to marry her after returning from the war, he is blind to her shallow,
cowardly nature. He is unable to see the corruptiion whick lies beyond her physical beauty,
charming manner and playful banter. That she is incapable of leaving her brutal husband, Tom, of
commiting herself to Gatsby despite his sacrifices, escapes him. As Nick observes, Gatsby's
expectation is absuredly simple:"He only wanted her to tell him [Tom] that she never loved him."
(pg.91) DAisy is not worthy of the pedestal on which she is placed. Since she is hallow at the core,
so is his dream which is based on a brief flirtation, nothing more.
Finally, Gatsby's own character-especially his willful obessesion-contributes to his fate.
Despite his naivete about Daisy and her friends who "are rich and play polo together," he, too, has
been seduced by the lure of money and fame. Unable to control his obsessive desire to have Dasiy, he
cares little about the means by which he acquires the money to marry her. He associates with
known criminals such as Myer Wolfsheim, apperars to be involved with bootlegging, and is rumored to
have killed a man. Finally, he lies about himself and his family to enlist Nick's support of his
grand quest. The means he uses to achieve his goal pervert his sacred dream. He prefers the pretty
illusions he concocts to the harsh reality of the obsession he allows to corrupt his life.
Gatsby's character is probably the single most important factor in the story of his life and
death. But Daisy and a society which rewards corruption play a part as well. F. Scott Fizgerald's
depiction of the soured American Dream dramatizes the internal and external forces at work in a
modern tragedy about human potential for corruption