Themes of Romeo and Juliet and the more relatable Jack and Rose from Titanic are examples of star-crossed lovers whose relationships were doomed, with Destiny scoffing at the glow of young love. Their unions were thwarted by obstacles and ultimately ended in tragedy, thus reinforcing the belief that if it is not written in the stars or preordained, it shall not be.
An equally similar theme of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet love is followed in The Great Gatsby. Amidst the glamour and debauchery of the Roaring Twenties in The Great Gatsby is the story of all-consuming love, doomed from the start for Daisy and Gatsby, mainly because of an idealized vision of love that never comes to fruition. However, in stark contrast, the imperfect love between the cantankerous, arrogant Tom and Daisy endures.
When the enigmatic Jay Gatsby meets sophisticated Daisy, he is not a member of the respected high society, but can keep up the pretense with ease. Their budding relationship is devoid of honesty and instead of it fulfilling Gatsby, it sets him off on an inexorable path to reinvent himself. She becomes a powerful symbol of the acceptance, wealth, and status that he yearns for and his relentless obsessive pursuit of this, keeps him frozen in time, clinging to a superficial illusory love. He does have ‘an extraordinary gift for hope’ and a ‘romantic readiness’ that is unrivaled as five years after their first encounter, he is an aristocrat with ill-gotten gains, throwing lavish parties so that he can reignite the fires of their passion.
Gatsby is undeterred by the fact that Daisy is married and a mother. His pursuit of her is completely amoral. Daisy, a paragon of virtue and perfection, according to Gatsby, is anything but as she embarks on an illicit affair with him, confirming that ‘there are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice. Their fate as lovers could have been altered had she accepted him for who he was and did not succumb to the pressure of marrying into ‘old money. In essence, it is Daisy who possessed the power to create an enduring love story, not Gatsby. Their relationship ends when he tragically dies not fully knowing the extent of his unrequited love but fervently clinging to the dream.
Tom, unlike Gatsby, was born into wealth and elitism and is living the American Dream. It is perhaps this that unites him and Daisy but wealth alone does not guarantee bliss. Their relationship is not based on trust either as she experiences doubts on the morning of her wedding, but still goes ahead with it, proving that Gatsby may have been correct when he said, ‘Your wife doesn’t love you. She’s never loved you. She loves me.’
Their marriage is plagued by deception as Tom indulges in adulterous affairs with women from the lower echelons of society. This is a complete antithesis to Gatsby who pursues Daisy for the upward mobility that she represents, whereas Tom prefers to dabble outside the affluence, unleashing his heinous abuse on powerless women. Daisy is nothing more than a prize to Tom and she is so insecure and desperate for acceptance that she endures the infidelities which infiltrate her, a haven. It is for this reason that she ultimately chooses Tom who accepts her imperfections and infidelity, as he is a sullied beacon of hope.
In conclusion, Daisy and Gatsby are indeed star-crossed lovers who are deprived of happiness due to a relationship beset with deception and illusion. This is what combines the plot of The Great Gatsby with the theme of Romeo and Juliet. However, in contrast, Tom and Daisy, are destined to be together albeit, in an imperfect relationship, that once augured well.
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