The Great Gatsby: Characters

This article by experts has everything about The Great Gatsby characters, their values, and relationships. Check it out to learn about Jay Gatsby character traits, Nick Carraway, Klipspringer, Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Jordan Baker, Myrtle Wilson, and others. Additionally, in the first section, you’ll find The Great Gatsby character map.

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🗺️ The Great Gatsby: Character Map

Below you’ll find a character map of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The picture contains a character map of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

💬 Nick Carraway

Nick Carraway is a descendant of a respectable and wealthy family from a small middle-western city. After graduation from New Haven in 1915, he participated in WWI. When the war was over, he couldn’t find a place for himself, so he decided to go to New York to study “the bond business.”

Nick in The Great Gatsby is not only the narrator and audience’s surrogate: he is the main moralist and the link connecting the main characters. He studied at the university with Tom, he is Daisy’s cousin, and he is the closest neighbor of Jay Gatsby. After the death of Gatsby, the reader learns that Nick was his only friend.

Nick’s relationships with other The Great Gatsby characters are evolving throughout the novel. He is the representative of the “old money” class. Still, he gets disillusioned with all American society, calling it a “rotten crowd.” He distrusts Gatsby due to the rumors described in Chapter 3 and his general mysteriousness, but Jay ends up being the only pleasant person for him.

Nick feels lonely and detached from the general fun both at Gatsby’s parties and at meetings with Tom, Daisy, and Myrtle. This position gives him a chance to look at the events from a bird’s eye view. That’s why he has the most influence on the reader’s opinion about the past and present events, as well as about the characters’ traits in general.

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Nick Carraway: Quotes

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 1

She was incurably dishonest… Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply—I was casually sorry, and then I forgot.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 3

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 9

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning—— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 9

🤑 Jay Gatsby

Jay Gatsby was born in a poor farmer’s family. His real name is James Gatz. He is the personification of the American Dream. He was hard-working and determined, and although his methods seem to be unlawful, he managed to establish capital and has everything a person could dream of. When his father, Mr. Gatz, arrived from Jay’s hometown to attend his funeral, he said that Jay had a great future in front of him and that he could have “helped to build up the country.”

Gatsby’s devotion and fidelity to his beloved, Daisy, also gives him an indirect characterization. His room was the “simplest” of all in the mansion. The enormous house, luxurious furniture, and lavish parties were bought and arranged with the only purpose to impress Daisy. Gatsby tried to become equal to her class as he supposed it was the only obstacle for their love.

Unfortunately, Gatsby’s longings did not bring him happiness. His dreams to become rich and to win Daisy’s heart were the dreams of a 17-year-old boy. He idealized his beloved way too much. In a way, his death was inevitable, as he has lost the meaning of life when Daisy decided to stay with Tom.

Jay Gatsby: Quotes

I am the son of some wealthy people in the middle-west—all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 4

You can’t repeat the past. Can’t repeat the past?.. Why of course you can!

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 6

Her voice is full of money.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 7

I can’t describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her, old sport. I even hoped for a while that she’d throw me over, but she didn’t, because she was in love with me too… What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 8

👧🏼 Daisy Buchanan

Daisy is a beautiful “golden girl” with a “sad and lovely” face. She met Gatsby when he was poor. They had a night of love, and she even waited for him from the war for a month. But then her “old money” nature won: she got married to a rich and abusive man, Tom Buchanan. And if love was what she wanted in life, Tom was the worst choice.

Daisy and Gatsby have a common characteristic: they tend to idealize their love. In comparison with their memorable romance, the real world seems uninteresting and senseless. Nevertheless, Daisy opts for the security of her rude and unfaithful husband. In Chapter 2, she tries her best to show how happy she is in this marriage. She is too indecisive for a dramatic change in her life.

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Daisy wants her daughter to become “a beautiful little fool,” as any woman in her opinion should. These words encapsulate gender expectations in the 1920s where women were very limited in their opportunities. Being beautiful and foolish is a survival strategy someone like Daisy might’ve used in this situation.

Daisy Buchanan: Quotes

All right… I’m glad it’s a girl. 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 Great Gatsby,
chapter 1

They’re such beautiful shirts… It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 5

Oh, you want too much!.. I love you now – isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past… I did love him once—but I loved you too.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 7

👨 Tom Buchanan

Tom Buchanan, Daisy’s husband, is a rich man in his thirties. Like Gatsby, he lives in a luxurious mansion, but unlike Gatsby, he comes from a wealthy family. Tom has a love affair with Myrtle Wilson and rents an apartment in New York for their meetings. Interestingly, he doesn’t care if Daisy finds out about their relationship. Myrtle freely calls Tom’s home number, and Tom is not afraid that people could see them together in public places. Neither does he care about Gatsby’s “presumptuous little flirtation” with his wife. He only cares about his property, and unfortunately, Daisy is a part of his property.

Tom in The Great Gatsby is the most negative character of all. He is aggressive, rude, and arrogant. He can also be violent towards women. Even his physical description highlights his abusive nature: “It was a body capable of enormous leverage – a cruel body.” Power is his only attractive trait.

Tom Buchanan: Quotes

Have you read ‘The Rise of the Coloured Empires’ by this man Goddard?.. Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be—will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 1

An Oxford man!.. Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit… Oxford, New Mexico, or something like that.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 7

I found out what your ‘drug stores’ were… He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him and I wasn’t far wrong.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 7

👩 Jordan Baker

Jordan is a professional golf player, beautiful and glamorous. She is a friend of Tom and Daisy and is rich like them. Jordan seems to be bored with all the people around her. Nick characterizes her as a cynical woman. He feels “tender curiosity” toward her, not real love, although they had a love affair.

She is “incurably dishonest,” and most likely, some of her success in sport was achieved by cheating. She “hates careless people,” but she is careless herself. Still, among the key protagonists, she is the only one who didn’t have to move to the province in the end.

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Jordan Baker: Quotes

Well,—he told me once he was an Oxford man… However, I don’t believe it… I just don’t think he went there.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 3

Daisy was popular in Chicago, as you know. They moved with a fast crowd, all of them young and rich and wild, but she came out with an absolutely perfect reputation. Perhaps because she doesn’t drink. It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 4

I thought I’d never seen a girl so mad about her husband. If he left the room for a minute she’d look around uneasily and say ‘Where’s Tom gone?’ and wear the most abstracted expression until she saw him coming in the door.

The Great Gatsby,
chapter 4

🎭 Other Characters of The Great Gatsby

Myrtle Wilson

Myrtle is the wife of George Wilson, the garage owner. She is also Tom’s lover. Tom perfectly meets her goals: she appreciates brutal masculinity and wealth.

Myrtle is not very smart. During their first meeting, she is attracted by Tom’s expensive clothes, and his suspicious behavior doesn’t put her on guard.

Like Gatsby, she feels discontented from her class and financial situation. But while Gatsby works hard because of love, she strives out of greed. She uses Tom as an “escalator” of social mobility, despite the fact that he made it clear he will never leave Daisy. In Chapter 7, Daisy runs her over in Gatsby’s car, and Myrtle dies.

George Wilson

George Wilson is the representative of the poor working class. He lives in the “Valley of Ashes,” as Nick describes the borderline between New York and its suburbs. He is submissive, and his wife doesn’t respect him the slightest. Still, he suffers a lot after her death, probably blaming himself for it.

Owl Eyes

This is one of the most mysterious characters in the novel. Nick invented the name when he saw Owl Eyes in Gatsby’s library. The drunk man in large spectacles is fascinated with the books. He attended Gatsby’s funeral. Moreover, he was one of the few people interested in Gatsby as a person.


Klipspringer is the antipode of Owl Eyes. He lives in Gatsby’s mansion and benefits from his generosity. When Gatsby dies, he disappears and only calls Nick to ask if he can collect Gatsby’s tennis shoes. He also played “Ain’t We Got Fun” on the piano for Gatsby and Daisy.

Meyer Wolfsheim

He is Gatsby’s Jewish friend and business associate. His cuff buttons are made of human molars. Little more is known about him: he appears only two times in the novel, at lunch in New York and after Gatsby’s death. But he indirectly reveals some essential information about Gatsby’s fortune, probably earned by the illegal alcohol trade.

We hope that the above analysis of The Great Gatsby characters is useful. Want to learn more about the meaning of the novel? Then you should check out the Symbols section. And if you’re looking for exciting essay ideas on the story, feel free to read our topics and prompts.

🔗 References

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