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The Great Gatsby and Its Character's Lack of Innocence

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In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald portrays corruption as one of the novel's most prominent theme. Specifically, Fitzgerald shows how although people may look perfectly innocent, everyone has their dirty secrets; nobody is truly pure and this is shown through the characters and their different character flaws. The old saying "two wrongs don't make a right" comes to mind. This cliché actually applies to many of the situations in The Great Gatsby, and after further analysis, readers can see that this cliché mentality allows the characters to taint their morality with dishonest actions with no care for the consequences of their actions because it was all for revenge. Specifically, the characters, most of which are high class citizens and prominent members of society, act pure, but are ultimately composed of low character and value. The Great Gatsby is rampant with corruption and with this theme of corruption being so pervasive it leads to a overall thematic sense of a disgust of society exemplified by the events of Nick's life on West Egg, therefore showing that nobody is truly innocent.

Corruption is rampant, it's everywhere, and we even see it in one of the most virtuous characters, Nick. At the beginning of the book, Fitzgerald writes,"... and so it came about in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men"(1). Nick is burdened throughout life with the trait of being a honest man, but he is also very considerate in the way he keeps his friend's secrets. He doesn't talk to Daisy about Myrtle, and he doesn't dare mention anything about Gatsby to Tom, this is all foreshadowed from the aforementioned quote on the very first page of the novel. Anyways, because of his trait of dependability, many secrets are divulged to him, as seen by the way Gatsby trusts Nick to help coordinate a reunion with Daisy by telling sharing parts of his own past. Further evidence lies in the fact that even after Gatsby has died; Gatsby's father tells Nick extremely detailed information about Gatsby's life through sharing Gatsby's schedule. Another incident is when Tom trusts Nick to hide Myrtle from Daisy, when Gatsby trusts Nick to hide his love for Daisy from Tom. Nick is burdened with the secrets of his friends and being around all that corruption leads him to be corrupted. A general pattern starts to form where Nick's friends reveal secrets to him, and he is forced into keeping them. Nick is expected to keep all these secrets, and all these little lies start catching up to him corrupting his honesty, and in the end leading to the death of his "good friend" Gatsby.

One of the more prominent instances of corruption is seen through the relationship between Tom and Myrtle. Tom is the archetypical unfaithful husband who becomes bored of his marriage like many other men before him, and has



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