Who is most responsible for Gatsby's death in The Great Gatsby?

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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.

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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.

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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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Who is most responsible for Gatsby's death in The Great Gatsby?

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby inspires many critical arguments. One of the debates centers on who is most responsible for Jay Gatsby's death. Possible candidates are Tom Buchanan, Daisy Buchanan, or Jay Gatsby himself.

One might argue that the fault lies with Tom Buchanan. True, it is George Wilson who shoots the bullet that kills Jay Gatsby. However, it is Tom who leads Wilson to believe that Gatsby's car is Tom's; thus, when Myrtle is killed, George immediately suspects Tom. To deflect blame, Tom directs George to Jay. Whether Tom believes that Jay was actually driving the car or whether Daisy confessed to him is irrelevant when evaluating Tom's action. Either way, he is protecting himself. Tom stops George from shooting him, and he eliminates his enemy so Jay cannot tempt Daisy again.

One school of thought places the blame directly on Jay Gatsby himself—or rather, James Gatz. From his early life, he was unhappy with his family's meager lifestyle. Dan Cody provided him with the opportunity to change that life—and so James Gatz was reborn into Jay Gatsby. Then, he met and fell in love with Daisy, and he spent five years molding himself into the man he thought she wanted. He lives in a fantasy world, and he pushes away any type of reality.

Although he makes business connections, Jay does not connect with any real friends except for Nick. It does not help him to remain aloof from the hundreds of party-goers, as Jay holds onto unrealistic expectations—especially for Daisy. For instance, he seems genuinely shocked to see Pam. Nick observes that Gatsby "kept looking at the child with surprise. I don't think he had ever really believed in its existence before." It's almost as if Jay thinks he can wish away the child. His intent to change reality to what he wants it to be is completely unrealistic.

When Nick cautions him that he can't go back to the past, Gatsby insists he can. "I'm going to fix everything just the way it was before." He is so enamored with Daisy and so out of touch with reality where she is concerned that he is even willing to take the blame for her crime. Even after Daisy has crushed him by stating that she loves both Tom and Jay, and she clearly chooses to stay with her husband, Jay lingers outside of her house in case she needs him. He does not want to face the truth; when it eventually hits him, he is destroyed. Emotionally, Jay Gatsby is dead long before that bullet hits him.

We cannot ignore Daisy's role in Gatsby's death. Daisy is the love of Jay's life: everything he has done for the past five years has been undertaken in the hope of reuniting with her. Once they begin seeing each other again, Daisy is content to hide her relationship with Jay and is not willing to make it public. Because she visits his mansion in the afternoons, Jay dismisses his servants so that no one will see her and gossip about the lovers. She does not correct him when he thinks they have a future together.

Finally, when Jay confronts Tom and demands that Daisy say she loves Jay and not her husband, Daisy is unable to do so. She falls apart, and the affair is effectively ended. She then turns her back on Gatsby, coldly forgetting about him as he waits outside her house. Daisy never comes forward to admit she was the driver of the "death car," not Jay. That lie sets in motion a series of events that ends in Wilson murdering Gatsby. Not even when Jay is gunned down does Daisy come back to attend his funeral. While she does not physically kill Gatsby, Daisy exhibits callous behavior and refuses to stand up for love; thus, she kills his spirit, which is much worse. He dies a shell of a man, one without any hope or feeling of love. He pays "a high price for living too long with a single dream."

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Who is most responsible for Gatsby's death in The Great Gatsby?

One might argue that George Wilson is actually the most to blame for Jay Gatsby's death, especially since he is the person who actually fatally shoots Gatsby. It is true that Wilson kills Gatsby because he believes that Gatsby is the person with whom his wife has been having an affair as well as the person who hit and killed her with his car. (He does not know that it was actually Tom Buchanan she was having an affair with or that Daisy Buchanan was driving the car that hit his wife, Myrtle.) Certainly, then, Tom and Daisy do play a significant role in Gatsby's demise, but it is Wilson who ultimately decides to pick up a gun and shoot Gatsby, first, and then himself.

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Who is most responsible for Gatsby's death in The Great Gatsby?

Tom and DaIsy Buchanan are equally to blame for Gatsby's death. Daisy is to blame, firstly, because she drove the car which killed Myrtle Wilson. Secondly because she allows her husband to continue to believe that it was Gatsby who was driving.

Tom is to blame even though he has been misled by his wife; he tells George Wilson that Gatsby was responsible knowing full well what a murderous state of mind Wilson is in; he effectively signs Gatsby's death warrant.

Nick's judgement doesn't differentiate between the two, 'They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness'. No question Nick is thinking of Gatsby and his dream when he says this.

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

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

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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In the final chapter of The Great Gatsby, who do you believe is responsible for Gatsby's death? Why?

Tom Buchanan's confession in this chapter makes it clear that he is responsible for Jay Gatsby's murder. When the two meet, Nick is reluctant to take his hand and when Tom asks about it, Nick tells him : 

You know what I think of you.

Tom tells him that he's crazy and that he does not know what is wrong with him. At this point Nick asks him:

what did you say to Wilson that afternoon?

Nick is referring to the day after Myrtle Wilson's death. Tom replies without a hint of remorse or regret:

“I told him the truth, ... He came to the door while we were getting ready to leave, and when I sent down word that we weren’t in he tried to force his way up-stairs. 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. He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy’s, but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle like you’d run over a dog and never even stopped his car.”

By implicating Jay, Tom set in motion the events which led to his death' 

Mr Wilson had been very distraught after Myrtle had been run over and killed by Daisy. He had an idea that Myrtle was having an affair and had told Michaelis the following:

“I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God. I took her to the window.”— with an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it ——” and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!’”

Just before this, Wilson had shown Michaelis the dog leash that Tom had bought Myrtle for the puppy he had purchased for her in New York. This convinced Wilson that he had been cuckolded. However, he did not know who it was his wife was with. He had expressed his suspicions about who had killed his wife though, by telling Michaelis:

“I’m one of these trusting fellas and I don’t think any harm to nobody, but when I get to know a thing I know it. It was the man in that car. She ran out to speak to him and he wouldn’t stop.”

Wilson suspected that he was the same man Myrtle had been seeing. When he confronted Tom Buchanan he wanted to know who had been driving the yellow car and Tom had given him all the details. Once Wilson knew who he thought it was, he went on an enquiry and on discovering that it was Jay Gatsby, he went and shot him.

It is not entirely clear whether Daisy had confessed to Tom that she had actually killed Myrtle and that he then decided to lie about it to protect her or whether Daisy had been dishonest and denied responsibility. All we know is the following that Nick witnessed soon after the accident:

Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table, with a plate of cold fried chicken between them, and two bottles of ale. He was talking intently across the table at her, and in his earnestness his hand had fallen upon and covered her own. Once in a while she looked up at him and nodded in agreement.

They weren’t happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the ale — and yet they weren’t unhappy either. There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anybody would have said that they were conspiring together.

If Daisy had lied to Tom, then she is, in fact, responsible for Jay Gatsby's death. 

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Which character in The Great Gatsby is most responsible for the death and destruction that takes place in the novel?

This question requires a subjective response as there is no way to directly prove that one character is more responsible than another for the three deaths that take place in the novel (Myrtle, Gatsby, and Wilson). 

In my opinion, Jay Gatsby is most to blame for these deaths. In order for him to get what he wants (marriage to Daisy), he has to break up Daisy's marriage. Daisy's child should be a concern to him, but isn't. Also, his insistence that she tell Tom she never loved him puts Gatsby in the wrong and makes him a bully very much like Tom. 

We can also argue that Tom's infidelity did not drive Daisy to her dalliance with Gatsby. Gatsby would have pursued Daisy's affections regardless of Tom's behavior in his marriage. This makes Gatsby, ultimately, more responsible for Daisy's mental and emotional state than Tom. 

Though Daisy drives the car that kills Myrtle and Tom leads Wilson to Gatsby's house to kill him, it seems that none of this would have happened if Gatsby had at any point relented in his pursuit of Daisy. 

Gatsby drives the action of the story and so, in my opinion, is responsible for the outcome. 

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