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The Lack of Morality of Wealth and Money in The Great Gatsby

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In the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The author conveys that morality is something of little importance to many people especially when it comes to obtaining status and wealth. Morality is a reoccurring issue in the Great Gatsby. The characters display many behaviors and actions that are considered to be immoral. The author highlights the absence of morality through three characters: Jay Gatsby, Myrtle Wilson, and Jordan Baker.

Gatsby is a great example of an immoral character. He has committed many crimes such as bootlegging to climb up the social ladder and to also gain wealth. Gatsby throws large and noisy parties at his luxurious house which he can afford because of his illegal business. He is also having an affair with Daisy Buchanan knowing that she is already married to Tom Buchanan, which once again shows how Gatsby disregards moral code. Gatsby is interested in earning more money. Gatsby remembers that Daisy left him because she could not wait for him to gain money. He tries to resolve this issue even if it means that his actions are not morally justified.

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Myrtle Wilson is similar to Gatsby because she is participating in an affair with Tom Buchanan. She knows that both she and Tom are married, which again breaks the moral code. Myrtle is different from Gatsby because she desires to have money, whereas Gatsby already has money. Myrtle tries to live the lifestyle of someone rich and high class with Tom. By doing this, she betrays her husband George Wilson. It is apparent that Myrtle values Tom and his money more than she does George Wilson. She believes herself to be too good for Wilson. The way Myrtle prioritizes Tom’s money and tries to act important while having an affair with him highlights her wrongdoings which are morally unjust.

Jordan Baker is a liar and a cheat. In a past golf tournament, she was accused of moving the ball which would have threatened her chances of winning. This scandal, however, was let go of from the press. It is left to assume that Jordan bribed them to keep her status. Whenever Jordan feels that she is at a disadvantage, she lies to still be at an advantage while saving her reputation to the public. Jordan’s actions have more support in self-satisfaction rather than morality.

In the novel, the characters show that morality is not important when it comes to status. They show that it is ok to act immorally since they either have or want money and status. The characters in the story are not involved in moral decision-making. They are figures of privilege, who see themselves as being unbound by standard morals. Fitzgerald used the characters in this novel to represent the theme of moral decay in society.


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