Who is most to blame for the death and destruction of Jay Gatsby?

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On one hand, one might say that Daisy Buchanan is to blame for Gatsby's death because she abandons him, despite her protests to both Gatsby and Tom that she does, indeed, love Gatsby. If she left her husband, Tom, as she had planned, then she and Gatsby could have...

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On one hand, one might say that Daisy Buchanan is to blame for Gatsby's death because she abandons him, despite her protests to both Gatsby and Tom that she does, indeed, love Gatsby. If she left her husband, Tom, as she had planned, then she and Gatsby could have run away together, escaping George Wilson's retaliation for his wife's death—but Gatsby waited and waited at his house for her call in the end, and the call never came. As he said goodbye to Nick the last time they saw one another, "He looked at [Nick] anxiously, as if he hoped [Nick would] corroborate" his belief that Daisy would call soon. He was waiting for that call when Wilson shot him.

On the other hand, one might also say that Tom is to blame. He revealed the fact that Gatsby is a bootlegger to Daisy, and it seems to have been the revelation that Gatsby is a criminal that drove her away. Tom tells Daisy that Gatsby not only is a bootlegger, he also has "'something [going] on now" that Tom's informant friend was too afraid to even discuss. This information is what drives Daisy away from Gatsby, rendering her "terrified," causing her to change her plans and leave Gatsby vulnerable, as I argued above.

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In the most literal interpretation, George Wilson is responsible for the death of Jay Gatsby, as he actually pulls the trigger and causes Gatsby’s demise. In looking at the death and destruction more figuratively, though, Jay Gatsby is responsible for his own death and demise. His single-minded love for Daisy was his downfall. For over four years he pursued his one dream, having Daisy back. This one goal drove him to make all his money, however he could, and eventually did bring Daisy back into his life. This, though, was also another step toward his death and destruction. After Daisy killed Myrtle while driving Gatsby’s car, he decides to take the blame for it. His love for Daisy blinds him to the consequences this might bring about. Because Tom thinks that Gatsby was driving, he sends Wilson to Gatsby when Wilson seeks revenge. Therefore, Gatsby brought about his own demise with his single dream of having Daisy. 

 

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