Love is a very complex subject and some couples may think they have found it, but in reality only a few may have had the privilege of experiencing it. In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Buchanan and his wife Daisy, along with Jay Gatsby, are entangled in relationships based on wealth, possession, and obsession.
Tom viewed his beautiful wife Daisy as a possession rather than a soul mate. He seemed to think that to love someone you had to dominate them. His relationship was based on him controlling his wife and he loved being able to do so. Mr. Buchanan obviously didn’t care for Daisy and proved it by cheating on her with Myrtle Wilson. Money was extremely important in keeping his marriage alive and Tom used it to buy Daisy expensive things such as a string of pearls worth $350,000 which in the present day would be worth well over $5,000,000. Tom did not think much of Gatsby and when Daisy told him that she was leaving him for Jay he replied, “She’s not leaving me! Certainly not for a common swindler who’d have to steal the ring to put it on her finger!” That statement revealed that he felt superior to Gatsby and was very confident that Daisy would remain with him. Later, he even let Daisy ride home with Gatsby, again showing his assurance in their partnership.
Though he did not seem worried he denounced his wife’s affair and even claimed it was a step toward the eventual collapse of society and inter-racial marriage: “Nowadays people begin sneering at family life…and have intermarriage between black and white.” Tom was the ultimate hypocrite; he condemned his wife’s affair but had no qualms about his own infidelity. This just showed how ignorant he really was. Tom Buchanan had it all, the money, a beautiful house and his gorgeous wife Daisy: the last piece to fit into his image and complete the puzzle.
The affair between Tom and Myrtle was nothing special to Tom, just another fling made possible by his money; she was a disposable that he could throw away at any time. Myrtle was a greedy woman who was impressed with Tom’s incredible wealth. Her husband George was poor and she wanted the good life. One would think that you’d try to keep an affair secret, but not Tom. He flaunted their relationship in public because he was careless of the consequences and “Tom’s acquaintances resented the fact that he turned up in popular restaurants with her [Myrtle] and, leaving her at a table, sauntered about chatting with whomsoever he knew.” Tom definitely considered her inferior to him and showed this by slapping Myrtle across the face and breaking her nose. Tom’s act of violence was brought on by her feeling she had the right to mention his wife Daisy’s name and unfortunately Tom thought otherwise. This displayed what a bully and a hypocrite he truly was: he carried on a public affair but was compelled to beat his mistress to keep her in her place. The strange thing was that he felt no guilt about this incident and it makes one wonder if he cared or if he was just using her for personal pleasure. Tom’s greatest asset, money, once again was used to buy Myrtle whatever she wanted to keep her happy, including an Airedale that she thought was “cute.” Tom’s relationship with Myrtle was based on Tom controlling her with his wealth, and she was merely an amusement for his spare time.
Daisy Buchanan could not stand to wait for Gatsby and got wrapped up in money and a marriage with Tom Buchanan that she could not get out of. Her love for wealth was important to her and Tom had all the money she ever needed. She knew he was rather possessive but he gave her a sense of security that she so desperately needed. Daisy once said, “That’s what I get for marrying a hulking, brute of a man,” and that is what he was. A powerful man who controlled women and got what he wanted. Although she claimed to love Tom she must be missing something, or else she would not be cheating on him with Jay Gatsby. One would have assumed that Daisy would benefit if she had gotten out of the marriage but also should not blame her for staying in. She knew she could have anything she wanted whenever she wanted and all she had to do was ask. Daisy viewed her marriage with Tom as a relationship where she might not have been as happy as she wanted to be, but could be recognized in society and have money to satisfy her needs.
Daisy claimed to love Gatsby, but her love was as superficial as the image Gatsby had created with his money. Before the war, Jay Gatsby and Daisy were in love and she told him she would be waiting for him when he returned. Unfortunately for Gatsby, Daisy chose to marry Tom Buchanan who was a very, very wealthy man. When Jay returned from the war he got extremely wealthy himself and set out to get Daisy back. The first time they laid eyes on each other one would have thought that the love was as strong as it was five years earlier. It was, but only for Gatsby. Daisy got caught up in the wealth and all she wanted was the money. She obviously did not love him; she let him take the blame for Myrtle’s death and went on as nothing had happened. This showed how cold and callous she truly was. Besides the money, she might have been trying to get back at her husband Tom for cheating on her, and she wanted to make him jealous. Although Daisy was caught up in Jay’s riches and had a chance to be with him, in the end, she chose a man [Tom] whose money she knew was real and could not be lost.
Jay Gatsby let his lust for Daisy become an obsession and was controlled by it. He thought of nothing else but her and constantly analyzed over every little detail, keeping a scrapbook with pictures and events of her life. Gatsby remembered the past and was convinced that it could be like that once again. He organized massive parties hoping to attract her attention. Jay became delusional with love and was blinded by it. The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock across the bay symbolized Gatsby’s longing for her and the route to his dreams. His gorgeous mansion, his lavish parties, and all his shirts (which impressed Daisy so much) were just his way of trying to buy her love. When he kissed her five years earlier he had made a choice and committed to her, giving up his adventurous life. He so badly wanted them to be together and was determined to do everything in his power to make it happen. What he did not realize was how shallow she was; he was only concerned with her magnificent beauty. Gatsby was obsessed with Daisy but showed signs of his true love for her; taking the blame for Myrtle’s death to protect her, and standing out in the rain the entire night to make sure did not face any harm. The only reason Gatsby’s love was synthetic is that if he truly did love Daisy he would want her to be happy no matter what. He tried to break up the Buchanan’s marriage not knowing that Daisy was only thinking of herself and would never divorce her controlling husband. Gatsby was too blinded by love to see how shallow Daisy really was and his fixation with her eventually cost him his life.
True love is an inexplicable and amazing thing that can compel human beings to act in ways which may seem eccentric. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald examined many partnerships that dealt with each character’s different perspective of what love really is. Whether it be buying one’s love with wealth, having someone as a possession rather than a companion, or obsessing over a lost love and trying to impress them by living a superficial life, and being someone that they thought others want them to be.