Homework Help

Who is the antagonist in The Great Gatsby and does he have any special traits?

user profile pic

brandih | eNotes Employee

Posted October 16, 2013 at 8:01 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Who is the antagonist in The Great Gatsby and does he have any special traits?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

mattbuckley | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted October 16, 2013 at 8:19 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The novel The Great Gatsby is a classic tale set in the 1920's. The protagonist is the title character in the story, Jay Gatsby. The antagonist could be argued in this story, because the character of Jay Gatsby is so complex. One could argue that the antagonist is Gatsby's romanticism. He believes that he can turn back time and go back and fix the relationship with Daisy. He had, as Nick explains, "an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again." However, the most obvious answer to this question is Tom. Tom Buchanan prevents Gatsby from getting what he desires, Daisy. This happens by way of him marrying Daisy, then later in the novel, slandering Gatsby's reputation to Daisy. Finally he takes actions leading to Gatsby's death, using George as his tool. Tom is very muscular and athletic and rich, but he "drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together." Nick feels that Tom "would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game."


Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes