Did Daisy actually love Gatsby?

Daisy may have loved Gatsby years ago in Kentucky, but she does not seem to feel as strongly when they meet again. In the end, Daisy chooses her privileged life and unhappy marriage to Tom over Gatsby.

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Although Daisy may have loved Gatsby years ago when they first met in Kentucky, it's questionable whether she truly loves him when they meet again. On the whole, it seems that their brief affair is driven not by genuine feelings of love, but by Daisy's need to fill certain emotional...

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Although Daisy may have loved Gatsby years ago when they first met in Kentucky, it's questionable whether she truly loves him when they meet again. On the whole, it seems that their brief affair is driven not by genuine feelings of love, but by Daisy's need to fill certain emotional needs that are not being met in her unhappy marriage.

Beyond the lure of a secret affair and nostalgia for their past romance, there seems to little depth to Daisy's regard for Gatsby—and it's worth noting that despite what Gatsby believes, his feelings toward Daisy don't appear to be genuine love either. Though she indulges in an affair with Gatsby, Daisy is ultimately not prepared to drop her privileged life with her husband and child for him. Despite his affairs and their turbulent marriage, Tom can give Daisy something that Gatsby never can: high social status. Gatsby may be rich, but he is new money (illegally acquired new money, at that). Like Tom and everyone else in the elite social circle in which they move, Daisy has been taught to look down on the nouveau riche.

Regardless of her past feelings for him, Daisy's behavior at the end of the novel certainly suggests that she does not love Gatsby: During the dramatic confrontation at the hotel, she refuses to say she never loved Tom, much to Gatsby's shock and dismay. Shortly afterward, she accidentally hits Myrtle with Gatsby's car and lets him take the blame, a move that ultimately leads to his death. In a final snub, Daisy leaves town and doesn't attend Gatsby's funeral, leading Nick to declare that both she and Tom are "careless people."

As for Gatsby, it is by no means clear that he really loves Daisy either. For him, it would appear that Daisy represents the social respectability he so desperately craves but which no amount of money can buy. He seems to care little—if at all—about the life she has lived since they parted, and his shock that she isn't willing to throw everything away to be with him suggests that he doesn't truly understand her. Ultimately, it seems Gatsby sees Daisy as little more than an object on which to project all his hopes, dreams, and fantasies, rather than a woman to be loved and cherished in her own right.

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