How does The Great Gatsby relate to the quote "The best intentions of good, noble people can lead to tragedy?"

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the best way to go about demonstrating the strength of the quote is to refer to Gatsby, himself.  Gatsby's qualities of being "good" and "noble" is that he really is not manipulating enough to be around the people he is around.  The individuals with whom he surrounds himself are self- serving and driven only by loyalty to themselves and their needs.  Gatsby's parties are a reflection of this, thrown for the benefit of others and without an idea of who is in attendance.  In this social configuration, Gatsby emerges with the vain hopes of being better than his background and winning Daisy's heart. The fact that Gatsby is used by others reflects how his own intentions are set upon the firmament of tragedy, "a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing.”  For Gatsby, this structure is what enables his own good intentions of possible nobility can result in tragedy.  It is here where I think that one can make the argument that individuals who are not aware of the world around them and not conscious of the evil that might exist in it set themselves up for failure.  Their fall becomes tragic because the goodness and nobility they demonstrate are not honored by the world around them, but rather perverted and twisted by it.  Tragedy resides in this.