The Great Gatsby - Love, Lust and Obsession


There is a fine line between love and lust. If love is only a will to possess, it is not love. To love someone is to hold them dear to one's heart. In The Great Gatsby, the characters, Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan are said to be in love, but in reality, this seems to be a misconception. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald portrays the themes of love, lust and obsession, through the character of Jay Gatsby, who confuses lust and obsession with love. By the end of the novel however, Jay Gatsby is denied his "love" and suffers an untimely death. The author interconnects the relationships of the various prominent characters to support these ideas.

The character of Jay Gatsby was a wealthy business man, who the author developed as arrogant and tasteless. Gatsby's love interest, Daisy Buchanan, was a subdued socialite who was married to the dim witted Tom Buchanan. She is the perfect example of how women of her level of society were supposed to act in her day. The circumstances surrounding Gatsby and Daisy's relationship kept them eternally apart. For Daisy to have been with Gatsby would have been forbidden, due to the fact that she was married. That very concept of their love being forbidden, also made it all the more intense, for the idea of having a prohibited love, like William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, made it all the more desirable. Gatsby was remembering back five years to when Daisy was not married and they were together:

His heart began to beat faster as Daisy's white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.

His memory of her is sweet and beautiful so that even without saying it, it is obvious that he was, and possibly is still, in love with her. He remembered the past and convinced himself that it could be like that once again. He became delusional with love, and was blinded by it.

Because Daisy was married, it was impossible for she and Gatsby to be together, but this did not stop them from secretly flirting and quietly exchanging their tokens of affection.

'Who wants to go to town?' demanded Daisy insistently. Gatsby's eyes floated toward her. 'Ah,' she cried, 'you look so cool.'
Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table.
'You always look so cool,' she repeated.
She had told him that she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw

Before this quote, Tom had no inkling of Gatsby and Daisy's secret affair and when he finds out, it makes him crazed. The thought of not having control over his women, made him furious. He also thought that to love someone, you had to dominate them and the moment he realizes that he has lost this domination, he panics because he thinks that maybe Daisy doesn't love him anymore. Gatsby senses that Tom is upset which gives Gatsby a sense of power since it is now he who has control over Daisy, for the time being.

To lust for someone is to have sexual longings for a person. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald portrays lust through Gatsby. It is mentioned that before he met Daisy, he lusted after many women, yet he held no respect for them.

He knew women early, and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of the others because they were hysterical about things which in his overwhelming self-absorption he took for granted.

Until he met Daisy, he took women for granted, never understanding the value of respect and love. The character of Gatsby gives enough evidence to conclude that lust has nothing to do with love, and that they are entirely different frames of mind. Gatsby lusted for women, but did not respect or love his lust objects. They were only objects of desire.

When lust becomes an obsession,