In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, The Great Gatsby, Myrtle Wilson is one of the most intriguing characters. She is the mistress of Tom Buchanan, who is married to Daisy Buchanan, the love interest of Jay Gatsby. Throughout the novel, Myrtle is not only a protagonist but also a symbol for many underlying themes.
So, what does Myrtle Wilson symbolize in The Great Gatsby? On the one hand, she represents the corruption and excess of the wealthy elite. Myrtle’s affair with Tom is a direct result of his money and status, and she is blinded by the allure of the luxurious life that comes with it. On the other hand, Myrtle is also symbolic of the American Dream, a chance for social mobility and economic success. However, her tragic end highlights the impossibility of achieving this dream for those born into lower social classes.
Overall, Myrtle Wilson is a complex and multifaceted character who represents many different themes in The Great Gatsby. Her story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of the American Dream and the corrupting influence of wealth and power. Moreover, her tragic end foreshadows the dark and destructive consequences of these themes.
Myrtle’s Physical Appearance
Myrtle Wilson is a pivotal character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. She is the mistress of Tom Buchanan, the husband of Daisy who is the main character’s love interest. One of the most important aspects of Myrtle’s character is her physical appearance.
Fitzgerald describes Myrtle as a woman of around 30, with a thick figure, and sensuous mouth. She’s got a bright, passionate mouth and a libertine sharpness in her eyes that immediately draw men’s attention. She has voluptuous curves and a heavy face with a blunt nose, cheeks that are too full, and eyes that are too large. Myrtle’s hair is a vivid, chestnut color and it is always beautifully styled. Her appearance is very suggestive of her desire to attain an upper-class lifestyle, which she thinks is a reflection of status and happiness.
More About Myrtle’s Physical Appearance
- Myrtle uses her sexuality as a tool to achieve her desires for wealth and status. She doesn’t care about what others think of her, and so long as she is pleasing to men, she feels in control.
- The boldness in her appearance is symbolic of her courage in challenging the social norms and resisting the restrictions of society; women were not expected to be promiscuous during the Jazz Age.
- The vivid color of Myrtle’s hair shows her desire to stand out from the rest of the crowd, to be somebody who is noticed and admired.
Myrtle’s Physical Appearance and Social Status
Myrtle’s physical appearance reveals her desire for social status. She is aware that her lower-class background might prevent her from attaining the kind of life she wants, but her physical beauty provides her with a manipulative power that allows her to bridge the gap between classes. In other words, she uses her appearance as a stepping stone to success. This is why she spruces herself up in fancy dresses and jewelry, hoping to gain acceptance from the upper-class crowd.
|Voluptuous curves and heavy face||Myrtle’s physicality symbolizes temptation and lust, and her attempt to leave behind her low-class roots and climb the social ladder|
|Vivid, chestnut hair||Symbolizes her desire to stand out, be unique and noticed.|
|Sensuous mouth||Symbolizes Myrtle’s eroticism, her sexual allure and her bold, phallic-like features on her face.|
In conclusion, Fitzgerald uses Myrtle’s physical appearance as a means of highlighting her character’s desires and motivations. She is a personification of the saying “appearances can be deceiving”. Although Myrtle seems to want to improve her social status, in reality, her persona is not entirely what it seems. Her beauty acts as a smokescreen for her true self: a shallow, manipulative and immoral person.
Myrtle’s role in the novel
Within the pages of “The Great Gatsby,” Myrtle Wilson plays a crucial role in the story’s intricate web of plotlines. Her actions and characterizations reveal a great deal about the story’s themes and the characters who populate this world.
- The embodiment of materialism: Myrtle is an embodiment of the materialistic values espoused by the story’s wealthy elite. She desires to escape her lower-class existence and improve her social status by associating with those in the upper class. By engaging in an extramarital affair with Tom Buchanan, a wealthy resident of East Egg, she believes she can attain the luxurious and affluent lifestyle she desires.
- Symbol of societal decay: Myrtle’s affair with Tom is an immoral act within the context of the story. It symbolizes the decay of societal values and the breakdown of traditional societal norms. Her actions indicate a disregard for the sanctity of marriage and a willingness to pursue personal pleasure over social convention.
- Agent of tragedy: Myrtle’s actions set a chain of events into motion that ultimately leads to the novel’s tragic ending. Her affair with Tom sets in motion a series of events that lead to the death of Gatsby, Daisy’s husband, and ultimately, Gatsby’s own tragic end.
Ultimately, Myrtle’s role in “The Great Gatsby” underscores the novel’s central themes of the corrupting influence of wealth, the destructive nature of the pursuit of the American Dream, and the consequences of societal decay.
Myrtle Wilson’s presence in “The Great Gatsby” highlights the underlying themes of the story. She represents the dark side of the American Dream and the consequences of moral decay within society. Her actions and characterizations serve as a reflection of the characters and themes prevalent in the novel, ultimately emphasizing the tragic nature of the story’s ending.
|Her affair with Tom||The decline of social values and personal integrity|
|Her desire to escape her lower-class status||The corrupting influence of wealth and the materialistic values of the American Dream|
|The results of her actions leading to tragedy||The consequences of societal decay and the pursuit of personal pleasure at the expense of social conventions|
The character of Myrtle Wilson serves as a crucial element within “The Great Gatsby.” As a symbol of morality’s decline, she helps to reveal the darker, more tragic themes at the novel’s heart, ultimately underscoring the destructive nature of the American Dream itself.
Myrtle’s Relationship with Tom Buchanan
Myrtle Wilson, the wife of George Wilson, has an affair with Tom Buchanan, the husband of Daisy Buchanan, in The Great Gatsby. Their relationship represents power, control, and manipulation. Here’s what the number 3 subsection explains:
The Power Dynamic
- Myrtle is attracted to Tom’s power and wealth, which provides a way for her to escape her current social and economic status. She sees Tom as an opportunity to become an elite member of society.
- Tom has power over Myrtle as he controls the relationship and holds the financial upper hand. He flaunts his wealth by showering her with expensive gifts, taking her to fancy restaurants, and renting an apartment in New York City for their rendezvous.
- Myrtle’s desire for power leads her to believe that she can manipulate Tom into leaving Daisy for her. However, when she mentions Daisy’s name, Tom becomes violent, breaking her nose. This shows that Myrtle doesn’t have as much power as she thinks she does.
The Control Game
Tom is a classic example of the Alpha Male. He’s used to getting what he wants, and Myrtle is no exception. Here are several ways he exerts control over her:
- Tom treats Myrtle as a possession to flaunt around. Rather than appreciate Myrtle as a person with feelings and emotions, he treats her as a pretty object.
- Tom becomes increasingly cruel, jealous, and possessive when he realizes that he can’t control Myrtle’s thoughts and desires. He feels threatened by her independence and outspokenness, something that Daisy lacks.
- Tom’s ability to control Myrtle comes to an end when Myrtle begins to talk about Daisy openly. Tom can’t stand the idea that Myrtle is trying to take his wife’s place.
The Manipulative Nature of the Relationship
The relationship between Myrtle and Tom is based on lies, deceit, and manipulation. Here are several ways Myrtle manipulates Tom to try to get what she wants:
- Myrtle is obsessed with the idea of wealth and status, and she sees Tom as a way to get there. She flatters him by telling him how manly he is and makes herself seem like an object he can possess.
- Myrtle is dishonest about her intentions with Tom. She lies to herself that they will be together in the future and gets angry when he brings up the reality that it’s impossible because of social opprobrium.
- Myrtle is desperate for Tom’s attention and affection, so she’s willing to put herself in dangerous situations. She begs Tom to let her drive his car, knowing that George will catch them if they’re seen together.
Myrtle’s relationship with Tom is a tragic one. It represents how societal norms regarding class and gender roles can lead to the objectification and manipulation of women. Her affair with Tom shows the ugly side of the American dream and how it often leads to corruption and misery.
|Myrtle is attracted to Tom’s power and wealth, but she doesn’t have as much control as she thinks.|
|Tom uses Myrtle as a possession to flaunt around, and he becomes cruel and possessive when he realizes he can’t control her.|
|The relationship between Myrtle and Tom is based on lies, deceit, and manipulation, showing the dark side of the American dream.|
Overall, their relationship is a commentary on class, gender, power, and the consequences of breaking societal norms.
Myrtle’s Desire for Wealth and Status
Myrtle Wilson, one of the key characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, is a woman with a burning desire for wealth and status. She is married to George Wilson, who owns a run-down garage in the Valley of Ashes. However, Myrtle does not want to be associated with this life. She yearns to escape from her mundane existence and live a life of luxury.
- Myrtle believes that wealth and status can make her happy, which is evident from her willingness to cheat on her husband with Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man who is married to Daisy Buchanan.
- She is not only attracted to Tom’s wealth, but also his status. Tom is an Ivy League graduate and a former football player. To Myrtle, Tom represents a world that is far removed from the one she currently lives in, a world of glamour, glitz, and parties.
- Myrtle is also obsessed with material possessions, such as the dress she buys for herself when she has an affair with Tom. She believes that owning expensive items will help her fit in with the wealthy crowd, and in turn elevate her own status.
Myrtle’s desire for wealth and status ultimately leads to her downfall. In a fit of rage, Tom breaks Myrtle’s nose when she mentions Daisy’s name. Later, Myrtle is killed by Daisy, who is driving Gatsby’s car while under emotional duress. The tragedy underscores the idea that money and social status cannot buy happiness or love.
It is clear that Myrtle is not content with her current situation and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve the life she desires. Her obsession with money and status ultimately leads to her tragic demise. The Great Gatsby is a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of materialism and the dangers of becoming too consumed with the pursuit of wealth and status.
Myrtle’s Discontent with Her Own Life
In “The Great Gatsby,” Myrtle Wilson represents the lower class, and her discontent with her own life is a clear reflection of the societal norms and expectations of the time. Her character portrays the desperation of the lower class to become part of the upper class and the sacrifices they make to achieve that goal.
- Myrtle is unhappy with her marriage because her husband, George Wilson, is a working-class man and cannot provide the lavish lifestyle she desires.
- She enters into an affair with Tom Buchanan, who represents the wealthy upper class.
- Myrtle sees Tom as an opportunity to elevate her social status and live the life she’s always dreamed of.
Myrtle portrays the harsh reality of the American Dream and the sacrifices people make to achieve it.
Furthermore, her discontent is also captured in the portrayal of her physical surroundings. She lives in a small, rundown apartment in a less desirable area of New York, further emphasizing the class divide between her and the wealthy characters in the novel.
|Upper Class||Lavish parties, mansions, luxury cars, designer clothing, etc.|
|Lower Class||Rundown apartments, cheap clothing, working-class jobs, etc.|
Overall, Myrtle’s character and her discontent with her life symbolize the societal divide and the desperation of the lower class to achieve the American Dream.
Myrtle’s Death and Its Significance
Myrtle Wilson’s death plays a crucial role in The Great Gatsby as it marks a turning point in the novel’s plot. Myrtle, married to George Wilson, has an affair with Tom Buchanan, which eventually leads to her death.
- One of the most significant aspects of Myrtle’s death is its inevitability.
- Myrtle’s death foreshadows the eventual downfall of all the characters in the novel.
- The circumstances surrounding Myrtle’s death bring to light the corruption and moral decay that pervades the world of the novel.
The symbolism of Myrtle’s death is also important to note. Myrtle dies at the age of 34, which is significant as the number 3 in numerology often represents growth and creativity, while the number 4 represents stability and structure. Together, they can symbolize balance and harmony, which is ironic given the chaotic and destructive nature of Myrtle’s death.
The aftermath of Myrtle’s death is also significant, as it sets in motion a series of events that ultimately lead to the novel’s tragic ending. Gatsby takes the blame for Myrtle’s death, which contributes to his eventual downfall.
|Myrtle’s Age||The balance and harmony that should be present at her age is disrupted by her chaotic death.|
|The Valley of Ashes||The moral decay and corruption that pervades the world of the novel.|
|The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg||The looming presence of God and the moral decay of society.|
In conclusion, Myrtle’s death in The Great Gatsby is a crucial turning point in the novel, marking the beginning of the end for many of the characters. Its symbolic significance highlights the moral decay and corruption that pervades the world of the novel, and foreshadows the eventual downfall of all of the characters.
Myrtle’s Contrast with Daisy
The Great Gatsby is a novel that is saturated with symbolism, most notably in its portrayal of the two main female characters, Myrtle Wilson and Daisy Buchanan. Myrtle, the mistress of Tom Buchanan and wife of George Wilson, is often compared and contrasted with Daisy, the object of Jay Gatsby’s affections. One of the most prominent symbols in the novel is the number 7, which highlights the differences between these two women.
- Myrtle Wilson is associated with the number 7 early on in the novel when she purchases a cream-colored dress for her affair with Tom Buchanan. The dress costs $75, which Tom describes as “the most expensive thing on Fifth Avenue.” He also notes that it was “trimmed with lace” and “had a sunburst of ruffles at the hem.” The dress has “a deep impression of the number 7,” which symbolizes Myrtle’s desire to rise above her current social class. She wants to be glamorous and wealthy like Daisy, but lacks the refinement and grace that Daisy possesses.
- Daisy, on the other hand, is associated with the number 7 in a more subtle way. When Gatsby and Nick arrive at Daisy’s house for tea, they notice “two girls in twin yellow dresses” playing in the yard. This image creates a sense of completeness and harmony, which is reminiscent of the number 7. Moreover, the twins represent Daisy’s idyllic childhood and her influential family background, which gives her an air of sophistication that Myrtle lacks.
- The number 7 is also associated with the seven deadly sins, which highlights the moral and ethical differences between Myrtle and Daisy. Myrtle embodies the desire for wealth and material possessions, which is represented by the sin of greed. Meanwhile, Daisy embodies the sin of sloth, as she is often idle and indifferent to the events around her. However, unlike Myrtle, Daisy is able to maintain a veneer of elegance and class that allows her to remain a respected member of society.
In conclusion, the number 7 is a potent symbol in The Great Gatsby that highlights the differences between Myrtle Wilson and Daisy Buchanan. Myrtle embodies a hunger for wealth and status that she is unable to achieve, while Daisy is a picture of elegance and refinement that comes naturally to her. The twin yellow dresses symbolize the wholeness and completeness that Daisy embodies, while Myrtle’s dress represents her failed attempts to find happiness and fulfillment. Overall, the contrast between Myrtle and Daisy underscores the theme of social class and the lengths that people will go to in order to achieve it.
Myrtle’s Impact on Other Characters’ Lives
Myrtle Wilson is a significant character in The Great Gatsby, symbolizing a range of ideas and themes. Her aspirations for wealth and status contrast sharply with her impoverished and unhappy existence. One of the most notable aspects of Myrtle’s character is the impact that she has on the lives of others, particularly those around her.
The Number 8: Myrtle’s Infidelity
The number 8 appears repeatedly in The Great Gatsby, particularly in relation to Myrtle’s character. She lives at 158th Street in an apartment that’s also home to a garage. The address, therefore, is 158/60, adding up to eight. This number is significant because it symbolizes balance, harmony, and success, which are all things that Myrtle desires. At the same time, the number also suggests instability and imbalance, which is a theme that is inherent to Myrtle’s character.
Myrtle’s infidelity is one of the most significant ways in which she impacts the lives of others. She is married to George Wilson, but she has an affair with Tom Buchanan, who is a married man. This affair puts Myrtle and Tom’s own relationships at risk, causing them both to suffer from the consequences of the infidelity. Furthermore, this affair has a profound impact on Daisy Buchanan, who is Tom’s wife. Daisy is aware of the affair and is hurt deeply by it, which ultimately leads to the tragic events that unfold at the end of the novel.
Myrtle’s Influence on Tom Buchanan
- Myrtle’s influence on Tom is significant. She represents the life and vitality that he craves, as opposed to the dullness and sterility of his marriage to Daisy.
- This is evident in the way that he treats Myrtle, taking her to fancy restaurants and buying her expensive gifts.
- However, Tom’s treatment of Myrtle is also reflective of his selfishness and his desire for power and control over others.
Myrtle’s death is one of the most dramatic moments in The Great Gatsby, and it has a profound impact on the characters around her. She is killed by a car that is being driven by Daisy Buchanan, who is unaware that she is responsible for the accident. The fact that Myrtle is killed so suddenly and unexpectedly has a profound impact on George Wilson, who is her husband. He becomes obsessed with the idea of getting revenge for her death, which ultimately leads to his own demise.
|Character||Impact of Myrtle’s Death|
|Daisy Buchanan||Feels guilty and runs away from her responsibilities, ultimately leading to Gatsby’s death.|
|George Wilson||Becomes obsessed with revenge and ultimately kills Gatsby before killing himself.|
|Tom Buchanan||Tries to shift the blame for Myrtle’s death onto Gatsby, further contributing to the tragic events that unfold in the novel.|
Overall, Myrtle’s impact on the other characters in The Great Gatsby is significant. Her infidelity, her influence on Tom Buchanan, and her sudden death all contribute to the tragic events that unfold in the novel. Through her character, Fitzgerald creates a critique of the excess and corruption that characterizes the world of the wealthy in the 1920s.
Myrtle and the American Dream
The character of Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby represents the darker side of the American Dream. As Fitzgerald portrays her, Myrtle is a character who is not content with her current life and is willing to do whatever it takes to climb the social ladder. At the beginning of the novel, she seems to view her affair with Tom Buchanan as a means of escape from her unhappy marriage and dull life as a baker’s wife.
However, as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that Myrtle’s pursuit of the American Dream has not brought her happiness. Instead, it has led her to a tragic end at the hands of Tom’s wife, Daisy. Fitzgerald uses Myrtle’s story to critique the idea that the American Dream is always attainable, a theme that he explores throughout the novel.
The Symbolism of Number 9
- One of the symbols that is often associated with Myrtle is the number 9. This number appears frequently in the novel, particularly in scenes that feature Myrtle or that take place in her apartment.
- The number 9 is often associated with the idea of completeness or fulfillment, but in the context of The Great Gatsby, it takes on a more ominous connotation. Myrtle’s pursuit of the American Dream is always just out of reach, and the repeated appearance of the number 9 serves as a reminder of her perpetual dissatisfaction.
- Additionally, the number 9 is a multiple of 3, which is often seen as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. This connection may suggest that Myrtle’s pursuit of the American Dream is in some way sacrilegious or immoral.
Myrtle’s Tragic End
Myrtle’s pursuit of the American Dream ultimately leads to her tragic end. She is killed in a hit-and-run accident, the result of Daisy’s reckless driving. This event represents the ways in which the pursuit of the American Dream can lead to destruction and disillusionment.
Additionally, Myrtle’s death serves as a metaphor for the death of the American Dream itself. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that the characters’ pursuit of wealth and status is fundamentally flawed and ultimately unsustainable.
The Role of Myrtle in the Novel
Although Myrtle’s time on the page is relatively brief, her character serves an important function in the novel. Through her story, Fitzgerald critiques the idea that the American Dream is always attainable and highlights the darker side of the pursuit of wealth and status.
|Myrtle’s apartment||Dirty and run-down, represents the squalor of Myrtle’s life and her inability to escape it.|
|Myrtle’s clothing||Loud, gaudy, and ill-fitting, represents her desire to appear wealthy and fashionable, despite being neither.|
|The Valley of Ashes||Represents the spiritual and moral decay of the world that the characters inhabit.|
Myrtle’s story also serves as a foil to the central romance between Gatsby and Daisy. While Gatsby and Daisy’s love is motivated by a genuine emotional connection, Myrtle and Tom’s affair is purely transactional, serving only to satisfy Myrtle’s desire for wealth and status. This contrast highlights the emptiness and falsehood of the pursuit of the American Dream.
Myrtle and the theme of illusion vs. reality.
One of the major themes in “The Great Gatsby” is the idea of illusion versus reality. The characters in the novel are often more concerned with the illusion of their lives than with the reality of their situations. Myrtle Wilson is a prime example of this theme. Although she is married to George Wilson, a man who loves her deeply and is willing to provide for her, Myrtle is more interested in the illusion of wealth and status that comes with being involved with Tom Buchanan.
- Myrtle’s desire for wealth and status is an illusion that blinds her to the reality of her life.
- Myrtle is willing to betray her husband and her own values in order to maintain this illusion.
- Through her relationship with Tom, Myrtle believes that she can become a part of the wealthy class, but in reality, she will always be an outsider.
Myrtle’s pursuit of the illusion of wealth and status ultimately leads to her downfall. She is killed in a car accident after she and Tom have been arguing over his treatment of her. Although she had the opportunity to walk away from the situation, her obsession with the illusion of a luxurious life led her to stay and fight for a relationship that was never meant to be.
In conclusion, Myrtle Wilson is a symbol of the theme of illusion versus reality in “The Great Gatsby.” Her desire for wealth and status blinds her to the reality of her life and leads her down a dangerous path. Her tragic end serves as a warning to the other characters, who are also blinded by their dreams of wealth and status. Ultimately, the novel shows that happiness can only be found when one is truthful about their situation, rather than chasing a false illusion.
|Illusion vs. Reality||Myrtle Wilson|
|The characters in the novel are more concerned with the illusion of their lives than with the reality of their situations||Myrtle is more interested in the illusion of wealth and status that comes with being involved with Tom than with her reality|
|Myrtle’s pursuit of the illusion of wealth and status ultimately leads to her downfall||Myrtle is killed in a car accident after she stays with Tom to fight for a relationship that was never meant to be|
|The novel shows that happiness can only be found when one is truthful about their situation, rather than chasing a false illusion||Myrtle’s tragic end serves as a warning to the other characters who also chase false illusions|
Overall, Myrtle’s story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of chasing illusions and ignoring reality. The novel reminds us that true happiness and fulfillment can only be found when we are honest about ourselves and our lives, rather than chasing the illusions of wealth and status.
FAQs: What Does Myrtle Symbolize in The Great Gatsby?
1. Who is Myrtle in The Great Gatsby?
Myrtle Wilson is a character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. She is married to George Wilson and has an affair with Tom Buchanan.
2. What does Myrtle symbolize in The Great Gatsby?
Myrtle symbolizes the corruption of the American Dream. She tries to emulate the lifestyle of the wealthy, but her pursuit of money and status only leads to destruction.
3. How does Myrtle’s affair with Tom represent a corruption of the American Dream?
Myrtle’s affair with Tom represents a corruption of the American Dream because she tries to climb the social ladder by associating with wealthy people. Her affair with Tom is a way for her to escape her unhappy life, but it ultimately leads to her own downfall.
4. How does Myrtle’s death reflect the corruption of the American Dream?
Myrtle’s death reflects the corruption of the American Dream because it shows the consequences of trying to achieve status and wealth at any cost. Myrtle’s pursuit of money and success ultimately leads to her own demise.
5. What is the significance of Myrtle’s dog in The Great Gatsby?
Myrtle’s dog represents the theme of ownership in The Great Gatsby. Myrtle treats her dog poorly, which reflects her own mistreatment at the hands of Tom and ultimately reflects the way the wealthy treat those beneath them.
6. How does Myrtle’s appearance reflect her aspirations?
Myrtle’s appearance reflects her aspirations because she tries to imitate the fashion of wealthy women. She often wears clothing that is too showy and ostentatious, which reveals her desire to be seen as wealthy and sophisticated.
7. What does Myrtle’s death reveal about the characters in The Great Gatsby?
Myrtle’s death reveals the true nature of the characters in The Great Gatsby. It shows that they are willing to go to any length to achieve their goals and that they are ultimately self-centered and selfish.
Myrtle Wilson is a symbol of the corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. Her pursuit of wealth and status leads to her own downfall, and her tragic end reveals the true nature of the characters in the novel. Fitzgerald uses Myrtle to comment on the dangers of materialism and the destructive nature of the American Dream. Thank you for reading, and make sure to come back for more insights into literature and culture!