Who is most responsible for Gatsby's death in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby?

In The Great Gatsby, though many are to blame, Tom Buchanan is most responsible for Gatsby's death. Tom tells George Wilson, who ultimately murders Gatsby, that it was Gatsby's car which hit and killed Myrtle. Tom shows no remorse about doing this. Daisy's silence also makes her complicit in Gatsby's death.

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I would argue that Gatsby himself is responsible for his own death. While Nick certainly portrays Gatsby heroically, it's important to step back from his narration and consider the truth about the man whom Nick considers so "great."

Ultimately, Gatsby is unable to release the past. He has become so hyperfixated on Daisy that he has constructed an entire life around the hope of winning her heart. Meanwhile, Daisy has moved on with her life and has chosen another husband. She has a daughter, whom Gatsby never seems to consider in his romanticized thoughts of Daisy.

Gatsby is trying to claim another man's wife as his own. Even though Tom is a despicable and unfaithful husband, Daisy has nevertheless chosen him. With such an inflated sense of pride, Tom was never going to allow Daisy to simply walk away from him. Gatsby proceeds with his plans with the belief that money will solve all of his problems and will win Daisy's heart. Is such a fickle heart worth the effort that Gatsby has dedicated himself to over the past years?

When Daisy chooses Tom, Gatsby is floored. He has never considered that she might remain with her husband, and he even stays outside her house after Myrtle's accident in the desperate belief that he can still "save" her from Tom. In his final scene, he goes to the pool while still waiting for a phone call from her. At this point, even Gatsby seems to realize his sense of misguided affections toward Daisy:

No telephone message arrived but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o'clock—until long after there was any one to give it to if it came. I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn't believe it would come and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.

Gatsby himself set in motion the sequence of events that would lead to his death because, ultimately, he ignored the establishment of marriage and tried to win Daisy's heart through money.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 28, 2021
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Tom Buchanan didn't pull the trigger, but in the eyes of Nick, he is most responsible for Gatsby's death.

Nick runs into Tom in October one day on the streets of Manhattan, on Fifth Avenue in front of a jewelry store. They talk, and Tom fills in the pieces of what happened in the run-up to Gatsby's death. Tom says that George came down to his mansion with a gun and that, at first, Tom told the servants to say that he and Daisy were out. Finally, Tom does talk to George but throws the blame for Myrtle's death on Gatsby:

"He was crazy enough to kill me if I hadn't told him who owned the car. His hand was on a revolver in his pocket every minute he was in the house——" He broke off defiantly. "What if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him."

Tom also says to Nick that Gatsby was the one who ran over Myrtle like "a dog."

Tom could have talked Wilson down without throwing blame on Gatsby the way he does, but for Tom, it is most convenient if Wilson kills his rival. Tom is already angry at Gatsby as an upstart who dared to think he could take his wife and thinks of Gatsby as less than human because, in Tom's eyes, he is not racially pure, and Tom wants to get rid of him posing any threat to Daisy in the future. Daisy, through her silence about the truth, is also complicit in the events that unfold that result in Gatsby's death.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 7, 2021
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In The Great Gatsby, Wilson is most responsible for Gatsby's death--he pulls the trigger.  He shoots Gatsby, and Gatsby dies. 

Anyone else's role in the death is ancillary--related to the primary cause, but not the primary cause.

Tom and Daisy do wreak havoc by playing, so to speak, with others in the novel, and Tom tells Wilson that Gatsby owns the car that hit Myrtle.  But Tom probably doesn't know Daisy was driving.  When Nick meets Tom after the story is basically over, Nick concludes that Tom doesn't know.  Though Nick may be an unreliable narrator, he errs, if he errs, against Tom, not in his favor.  Nick is ripe to heap more blame on Tom.  If there was a chance that Tom knows Daisy was the one actually driving, Nick would say it.

Daisy, as well, deserves blame.  She could have told the truth.  She should have told Tom and the police and everybody else that she was driving, but she doesn't. 

Nick could have intervened as well.  He knows the truth, but he doesn't say anything, either.

There's much blame to go around, but again, Wilson pulls the trigger.

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In The Great Gatsby, Daisy and Tom Buchanan are most responsible for Gatsby's death.  The true villain of the narrative, Tom employs Daisy's idea of relieving their boredom by going to town and insidiously urges Gatsby to take Daisy in his coupe, allowing Gatsby to be seen with her.  At the hotel in New York, Tom becomes combative with Gatsby and interrogates him about his business dealings and his past, calling him a racketeer and a swindler.  When Gatsby rises to the challenge and urges Daisy to tell Tom that she does not love him, the air becomes charged with emotion as Daisy withdraws into herself.  So, Tom, already knowing that Daisy is extremely unnerved, instructs his wife to take Gatsby's car and head back to East Egg.  When Tom espies the accident, he stops to ascertain what has happened; and, although he has been witness to the mettle of Gatsby, he desires to assume that Gatsby has struck and killed Myrtle, and has, with cowardice, driven on.

As the chivalrous Gatsby watches outside the Buchanan house, concerned for Daisy, the nefarious Tom conspires with his pusillanimous wife.  And, he obviously persuades her to implicate Gatsby in the death of Myrtle Wilson.  So, while she lacks the fortitude to be honest about what has happened, Tom Buchanan is villainous in his coersion of his wife and betrayal of Gatsby.  It if were not for Tom Buchanan's plan of implicating Gatsby as the driver of the "yellow death car,"  Wilson would have sought out the driver and not killed Gatsby.

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