Wilson was a very innocent character throughtout the book, why does he kill Gatsby in The Great Gatsby?  I understand that he kills Gatsby because he's decieved that he's the one that killed...

Wilson was a very innocent character throughtout the book, why does he kill Gatsby in The Great Gatsby?

 I understand that he kills Gatsby because he's decieved that he's the one that killed Myrtle but what is Fitzgerald really trying to implicate by this? Because Wilson's been a very passive and innocent character throughout the play it's shocking to see him "murder"..

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Asking for inferences regarding the meaning of George Wilson's behavior, we will naturally engage in some conjecture here. It is true that George has been beguiled and used by Tom as well as Myrtle through most of the novel. 

He is innocent, eager to please (to make a dollar) and he is not sufficiently suspicious to recognize what is going on between his wife and Tom until the affair has gone on for quite a while. 

His violent response to his wife's death might suggest the depth of the moral shock he feels when his wife is killed by people who have wronged him and who are so thoroughly "elitist" that they will not even stop to acknowledge a life has been taken. Instead, they speed away. 

Wilson is certainly shocked and outraged. He speaks about moral retribution as payment for actions that God surely sees as sinful. In this way we might see his vengeance as, in part, the response of a (religiously-oriented) moral order. 

We might, alternatively, see his behavior as the result of a psychological shock that is too great for him to bear. Not only is his wife taken away, first by a lover and then by a "death car", but her death is made ignoble by the fact that it was a hit and run. Combined, these circumstances are too much for Wilson to accept or to process. He is driven mad and so commits a crime that he would not have been capable of earlier in the novel. 

In any reading of Wilson's behavior, we should recognize his own feelings of carrying out a moral vengeance. 

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