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We could say that the episodes of violence in The Great Gatsby serve to demonstrate a notion that the posing, deception, and ambition of the characters have an impact. Gatsby's deception and striving are not innocent, victim-less character traits. They lead to real harm.
Similarly, Tom's deception and his cheating lead to violence and death, albeit indirectly. Again, lying leads to disaster.
It might seem for a while that there will be no victims in the games these people are playing, but that is not the case.
The acts of violence in The Great Gatsby help highlight the contrast between the romanticism of the novel and its realism. Each trait thereby adds to the intensity of the other. The romanticism of the book contrasts with its often unappealing and even ugly realism, while the realism of the book helps prevent the novel from seeming too sweet and overly sentimental.
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