How does Gatsby's character change in chapter five?

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tinandan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter Five is the chapter in which Gatsby finally meets Daisy again, five years after she broke his heart by marrying Tom. The meeting occurs at Nick's house.

While waiting to meet Daisy—and even for the first few minutes after meeting her—Gatsby is so nervous that he's in anguish. He even tells Nick at one point, "This is a terrible mistake, a terrible, terrible mistake." 

After Nick leaves the two of them alone together for about half an hour, Gatsby and Daisy are no longer nervous. They have apparently had an emotional reunion. Gatsby is very happy, because it seems to him that his dream of getting Daisy back is finally coming true. As the scene proceeds, with a tour of Gatsby's house, Daisy and Gatsby act increasingly in love; by the end of the chapter, when Nick takes his leave of them, "They had forgotten me. . . Gatsby didn't know me now at all."

Gatsby's character does not really change during the course of this chapter. His goal (winning Daisy back) is what it has always been. His assumptions and abilities are the same. What has changed is his emotional state, and also Nick's state of knowledge about Gatsby. Before the revelations of chapters 4 and 5, Gatsby was a mystery figure to Nick. Now, Nick understands what drives Gatsby. He begins to see Gatsby's nobility, but also his limitations.

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The Great Gatsby

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