The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In The Great Gatsby, how is Gatsby a Byronic hero? Does he fall into any of these characteristics and if so how? Exhibits conflicting emotions; Rejects accepted norms of society; Displays lack of respect for rank and privilege.  

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Although he possesses some of the characteristics of the hero created by Lord Byron in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Gatsby is not developed as a classic Byronic hero. For instance, he is not cynical; Gatsby is the most romantic personality Nick Carraway has ever known. He is not tormented by conflicting emotions; after meeting Daisy, Gatsby's life is determined and thereafter ruled by one emotion--the need to experience life again as he had known it for a brief while with Daisy Fay in Louisville, the emotional need to actually repeat the past. Gatsby is motivated by love, and there is no conflict in his feelings for Daisy.

That being said, like classic Byronic heroes, he does reject one particular norm of society at large. By throwing in with Meyer Wolfshiem, he chooses to become a gangster and build his fortune through criminal pursuits. He maintains secrecy in regard to his "business ventures" because they are illegal; they are also socially unacceptable, except to the...

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