A young man from the Midwest who comes to live in the West Egg to go into bond sales. He moves in next door to Gatsby and somehow befriends the man. Easy-going, somewhat deadpan, and optimistic, but not for long.
Beta Couple: With Jordan, their affair happens with much less pomp and circumstance than Gatsby and Daisy's. He eventually leaves her because he can't stand her need for drama.
Can't Hold His Liquor: He gets very drunk in the movie, and explains it's because he's only been drunk twice before.
Hypocrite: Goes to great lengths to describe how honest he is, even though he never tells Daisy the identity of Tom's mistress, blames everything on Tom and Daisy and refuses to acknowledge his own bias and idolization of Gatsby.
Unreliable Narrator: He is obsessed with Gatsby and always portrays him in a positive light, never acknowledging the man's faults while also painting himself as a martyr.
He says several times that he "thoroughly disapproved" of Gatsby, he does tend to lionize Gatsby in sections of the novel, but he also casts aspersions on Gatsby.
Jay Gatsby/James Gatz
Nick's neighbor and the titular "Great Gatsby", Gatsby is a young millionaire whose weekly parties are as lavish as he is mysterious. Later revealed to be the son of dirt-poor farmers from the Midwest who made his fortune by bootlegging. Carries a torch for Daisy, much to his detriment.
Love Martyr: Everything Gatsby did to raise and spend his ill-gotten money was to capture Daisy's heart. He idealizes her to the extent that he's willing to take a manslaughter rap for her. Tragically enough, Gatsby never would have been happy, for he expected too much from Daisy, wanting (and in the infamous confrontation scene, forcing) her to be the perfect memory he obsessed over.
Loving a Shadow: He was in love with the idea of Daisy and wanted everything to be the way it was when he first met her.
Jerk Jock: Formerly a polo player, but it seems he kept the attitude.
Karma Houdini: He indirectly kills Gatsby and George after he persuaded George that Gatsby killed his wife and gets away with no consequences. However, it's said that he doesn't fully escape karma since it's implied that his marriage with Daisy is in ruins after the end of the novel.
Man Child: Nick makes this observation late in the book— Tom is unable or unwilling to change, and so self-absorbed he can't see anyone's pain but his own.
Would Hit a Girl: He slaps Myrtle in the face and breaks her nose, and it is implied that he is abusive towards Daisy.
Downplayed in the movie; He still hits Myrtle, but doesn't break her nose. While he is neglectful of Daisy, he is not abusive- When Gatsby stakes out the Buchannan's house in case Tom attacks Daisy, Nick assures Gatsby that Tom won't touch her.
Daisy "Fay" Buchanan
Nick's second cousin once removed and wife of Tom, with whom she has a daughter. Daisy is beautiful and charming, if somewhat careless and shallow. Gatsby's love for her kicks off the plot of the novel.
Aroused by Their Voice: Nick says that the most memorable thing about Daisy is her voice; Gatsby even says that it was "full of money."
Broken Bird: While she's clearly an unhappy Stepford Smiler in the novel, the movie expands on this. She fell in love with Gatsby, only for him to be sent off to war and resorting to communication via letters. After the war, Gatsby was assumed dead, and she was about to marry Tom when she receives a letter from Gatsby. She has a Heroic BSOD and tries to break off her engagement, only to be pressured by her family to go through with the marriage. Tom promptly cheats on her, is not even there for the birth of their child, and since then she has been trapped in an loveless marriage.
The Ingenue: To Tom's Man Child. While certainly not a virgin, her childlike innocence and disposition is a major character flaw, in that she's unable to take responsibility for herself, either to better her life or change the way her actions hurt others.
Stepford Smiler: Pretends to be happy, but it's clear she feels very unfulfilled in her marriage.
Tragic Dream: She really did love Gatsby, but couldn't leave her life behind for various reasons, like abandoning her daughter, financial insecurity, and fear of being abused and controlled by Gatsby the way Tom does to her.
Murder-Suicide: George Wilson shoots himself over the death of his wife Myrtle, taking Gatsby with him.
Wife of George, she and Tom have an affair in order to escape the unfulfilment both were feeling in their marriages. Daisy accidentally kills her by running her over in Gatsby's car, but Gatsby takes the blame.
Birds of a Feather: Catherine tells Nick that neither Tom or Myrtle can stand the person they're married to- although Tom is more possessive of Daisy than Myrtle was lead to believe.
God: It's been interpreted by many people that the billboard represents the Eyes of God seeing everything. Mr. Wilson outright believed that the billboard was God during his mental breakdown and believed that God wanted him to avenge Myrtle's death.