Antagonist Analysis of The Great Gatsby

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12 December 2021

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Tom Buchanan, the antagonist within the e-book, The Great Gastby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald is the darker side of the principle character, Jay Gatsby. Where as Gatsby is an agreeable, attentive gentleman, Tom is the abrasive, physically powerful, and careless man who is worried about one thing…himself. Tom is introduced as an boastful and abusive husband to his wife Daisy Buchanan, who states, “That’s what I get for marrying a brute of a person, an excellent, massive, hulking physical specimen of a —-,“ as she tries to cope with his selfish and emotionally abusive ways (F.

Scott Fitzgerald 12). The Great Gatsby explores the dynamics of relationships between the love (or lack thereof) between man and girl. Fitzgerald portrays antagonist Tom as self-centered human being, not only by way of the emotional abuse and negligence of his spouse, however likewise via the sexual encounters and philanders of assorted women.

One of Tom’s lovers, Myrtle Wilson, is so engrossed and enchanted by Buchanan that she is prepared to risk her own marriage and is no longer attentive as a few of her actions include “walking by way of her husband as if he have been a ghost, shook arms with Tom, looking at him flush in the eye” (Fitzgerald 26).

Unlike Tom, whose life revolves around nobody aside from himself, Gatsby’s life centers on discovering the lengthy lost love of his life, Daisy, and engulfing her with the true endearment of affection between a person and girl. His one need to satisfy his life with real love is interrupted twice by Tom Buchanan.

Having liked Daisy as a young teenage boy and loosing her to life’s circumstances, Gatsby is determined to proceed his search in hopes of locating this particular woman who can never be replaced by no other stunning face or physique.

Gatsby’s adoration and respect for Daisy drives him to solid all his possessions and even his life into securing her love and saving her name, as he did after the accident shifting blame from her to him, “but of course I’ll say I was” [driving the automotive that hit and killed Myrtle] (143). Tom and Gatsby are black and white images of each other. Tom, the darker character, is a cold heartless man who strikes folks around like pegs on a game board. He regularly rolls the cube to calculate his next strikes giving no thought to the human lives he has at stake. After the demise of Myrtle, Tom exhibits his lack of curiosity for the welfare of the woman he has been having an affair with and makes use of a possibility to shift conflict between George, Myrtle’s husband, and Gatsby, “Wilson’ll have a little enterprise at last” (137).

Unlike Tom, Gatsby’s shiny image of love, concern, and devotion carries all through the story. Gatsby holds onto love till the dire end, electing to protect Daisy from the wreck and the reckless relationship along with her husband Tom, “I’m just going to wait here and see if he tries to hassle her about that unpleasantness this afternoon (144). Tom is the perfect character to characterize the antagonist in, The Great Gatsby. His selfish acts towards every character within the story reveals his lack of respect for human relationships and his indulgence for self.

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"Antagonist Analysis of The Great Gatsby" StudyScroll, 12 December 2021,

StudyScroll. (2021). Antagonist Analysis of The Great Gatsby [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 4 December, 2023]

"Antagonist Analysis of The Great Gatsby" StudyScroll, Dec 12, 2021. Accessed Dec 4, 2023.

"Antagonist Analysis of The Great Gatsby" StudyScroll, Dec 12, 2021.

"Antagonist Analysis of The Great Gatsby" StudyScroll, 12-Dec-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 4-Dec-2023]

StudyScroll. (2021). Antagonist Analysis of The Great Gatsby. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 4-Dec-2023]

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