Characters: The Great Gatsby

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     Main Characters 

Nicholas "Nick" Carraway

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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially towards Daisy.
  • 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.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: who Took a Level in Jerkass by the end of the novel.
  • Only Friend: Claimed to be this since he was practically the only person who went to Gatsby's funeral and even arranged it.
  • Only Sane Man: By the end of the novel, he realizes what terrible people his cousin and her husband truly are.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Gatsby's funeral, he decided that he finally had enough of the East and decides to return home to the West.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to both Tom and Gatsby's manly men.
  • 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.

  • Anti-Hero: He gets his money through bootlegging.
  • Byronic Hero
  • Catchphrase: Old sport.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: One of the most tragic examples considering what happened to him later.
  • Last Name Basis: Very rarely does anybody refer to him as "Jay."
  • Lonely at the Top: Out of all the people that attend his parties Nick is the only person that actually seems to care about him.
  • Love at First Sight: With Daisy.
  • 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.
  • Multiple-Choice Past
  • Mysterious Past
  • Nouveau Riche
  • Posthumous Character: Died before Nick narrated the story.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At sixteen, he ran away from home to pursue his dream of becoming rich and powerful.
  • Self-Made Man: A deconstruction. He gained all of his money himself, but as he wasn't born with it the only way he could see himself becoming a millionaire was to be a criminal.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: One of the two manly men (the other being Tom) to Nick's sensitive guy.
  • Social Climber
  • Tragic Antihero: He genuinely loved Daisy with all of his heart and became rich as an attempt to win her back.

Thomas "Tom" Buchanan

A school acquaintance of Nick's and husband of Daisy. Tom is a millionaire who lives on the old-money East Egg.

  • Berserk Button: Myrtle says "Daisy" multiple times after he asks her to stop, and in response Tom breaks her nose.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Described as "straw-haired" in the book. Movie adaptations tend to change it, as they do with the other characters.
  • The Brute: Daisy gets on to him about his roughness while he doesn't like when she mentions this.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: His controlling behavior of Daisy belies this. Cemented when he implies to Wilson that Gatsby ran over Myrtle after finding out Daisy loved him.
  • Has a Type: Women named after plants. Daisy, Myrtle.
  • Hypocrite: He's been cheating on his wife since their honeymoon, but God forbid if it was the other way around.
  • It's All About Me: At the end of the day, this sums up his personality.
  • 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.
  • Parental Neglect: He and Daisy seem barely aware that they have a daughter.
  • Rich Bastard
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The manly man to Nick's sensitive guy.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!
  • The Sociopath: He seems to have shades of this. For example, he was excited when he saw an accident at George's gas station and was saying that it appeared that George finally got some publicity.
  • Villainous Breakdown: To put it bluntly, he did not take Daisy having an affair with Gatsby really well.
  • White Anglo-Saxon Protestant
  • 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."
  • Brainless Beauty: Seemingly, although there are hints that this is at least partly a facade and she does know how horrible her life is.
  • 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.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Spends most of the film/book already having crossed it.
  • Dumb Blonde: Averted, she merely pretends to be because it's easier.
  • Gold Digger: Only married Tom for his wealth, although she had fallen in love with him briefly at one point in their marriage.
  • Hidden Depths
  • 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.
  • Lonely at the Top
  • Love at First Sight: With Gatsby.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Daisy. As per the book's Color Motif, white symbolizes purity and yellow symbolizes corruption. What flower is white outside but yellow inside?
    • Fay has rather unfortunate connotations, as something of beauty you would do well not to associate with.
  • My Beloved Smother: Implied in a scene in the movie.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    Daisy (on her daughter): "...And I hope she'll be a fool—that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."
  • The One That Got Away: To Gatsby. The entire plot revolves around his attempts to win Daisy back, so they can continue on with their lives like the five years that separated them never happened.
  • Parental Neglect: She and Tom seem barely aware that they have a daughter.
  • 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.
  • White Anglo-Saxon Protestant

Jordan Baker

An attractive, somewhat aloof golfer who is good friends with Daisy. She and Nick strike up a romance over the course of the novel.

  • Beta Couple: With Nick.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Always has a sly quip ready to share with Nick for the various things they witness.
  • Drives Like Crazy: By her own admission—she expects other people to compensate for her own carelessness.
  • Jerkass: A thoroughly enjoyable one, but a jerkass nonetheless. Nick realizes this and dumps her for it.
  • Pass the Popcorn: She loves watching people dealing with their problems. This is why Nick leaves her.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Daisy's red.
  • Statuesque Stunner: In the 2013 movie, her actress is over six feet tall.

George Wilson

A grumpy, unlikable mechanic who works in a garage. He's Myrtle's husband, unfortunately for everyone involved.

  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Locks Myrtle upstairs upon learning she's having an affair.
  • Driven to Suicide: After he murders Gatsby, he shoots himself.
  • Murder-Suicide: George Wilson shoots himself over the death of his wife Myrtle, taking Gatsby with him.

Myrtle Wilson

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.
  • Gold Digger: Becomes Tom's mistress for his money.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl
  • Hysterical Woman: In the 1970s film adaptation. Upon seeing Tom after he breaks off the affair, she punches her hand through the window.
  • The Mistress

     Other Characters 

Mr. McKee

A photographer who lives on the floor below Tom and Myrtle's apartment in the city.

Mrs. McKee

Mr. Mc Kee's wife. Nick finds her very annoying.

Meyer Wolfsheim

A Jew who is a close business partner of Gatsby's.


Myrtle's sister.


Henry C. Gatz

     Just for Fun 

Dr. T. J. Eckleburg

  • 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.