Tom’s Responsibility for Gatsby’s Death: Quotes and Analysis

Why is tom responsible for gatsby's death quotes

One of the key themes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is the destructive power of wealth and the corruption that can be found within high society. Throughout the narrative, it becomes painfully clear that Tom Buchanan, a wealthy and arrogant character, plays a significant role in the tragic downfall of Jay Gatsby. This can be seen through a careful analysis of key quotes that highlight Tom’s manipulation, betrayal, and disregard for others.

One quote that exemplifies Tom’s responsibility for Gatsby’s death is when he says, “Gatsby deserved to be shot for what he did to Myrtle” (Fitzgerald 137). This statement is significant because it reveals Tom’s willingness to place blame on Gatsby, despite his own involvement in the events leading up to Myrtle’s death. By shifting the blame solely onto Gatsby, Tom demonstrates a complete lack of accountability and a refusal to acknowledge his own role in the tragedy.

Another quote that highlights Tom’s responsibility is when he tells his wife, Daisy, “I’d like to get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around” (Fitzgerald 128). This statement not only showcases Tom’s possessive and controlling nature, but it also underscores his disregard for Daisy’s feelings and autonomy. By treating Daisy as a possession to be controlled and manipulated, Tom contributes to the underlying tension and instability that eventually culminates in Gatsby’s death.

Furthermore, Tom’s dismissal of Gatsby’s wealth and social status is evident in his quote, “He throws large parties, and … I hate that word ‘hulking.’ It always makes me think of a black panther” (Fitzgerald 119). This quote shows Tom’s disdain for Gatsby’s attempts to fit into high society and his refusal to see him as anything other than an outsider. By belittling Gatsby’s accomplishments and dehumanizing him, Tom fuels the sense of isolation and desperation that ultimately leads to Gatsby’s tragic end.

In conclusion, Tom Buchanan’s manipulation, betrayal, and disregard for others are key factors in Gatsby’s tragic downfall. Through careful analysis of quotes, it becomes clear that Tom is ultimately responsible for Gatsby’s death. By shifting blame, exerting control over Daisy, and dismissing Gatsby’s attempts to fit into high society, Tom contributes to the tragic ending of the novel.

The Seeds of Tragedy: Tom Buchanan’s Role

Tom Buchanan’s character is essential in understanding the tragic chain of events that ultimately lead to Gatsby’s death. From the beginning of the novel, Tom’s actions and beliefs lay the groundwork for the disastrous outcome.

Tom’s inherent sense of entitlement and superiority contribute to his ruthless treatment of others, namely Gatsby. He views Gatsby as a social upstart and a threat to his own privileged position. This animosity sets the stage for their eventual confrontation.

One key quote that exemplifies Tom’s role in the tragedy is when he confronts Gatsby during one of his lavish parties, saying, “Who are you, anyhow?…You’re one of that bunch that hangs around with Meyer Wolfsheim—that much I happen to know” (Fitzgerald 133). This quote showcases Tom’s willingness to expose Gatsby’s questionable associations, tarnishing his reputation in front of others. Tom intentionally uses this information to undermine Gatsby and assert his own dominance.

Furthermore, Tom’s affair with Daisy is a crucial element in Gatsby’s downfall. His own infidelity and disregard for moral boundaries make it easier for him to dismiss Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy as insignificant. This dismissal exacerbates Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy and fuels the tragic events that unfold.

Another quote that highlights Tom’s impact is when he taunts Gatsby during their argument at the Plaza Hotel, saying, “She never loved you, do you hear?…She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me” (Fitzgerald 137). Tom’s deliberate cruelty not only exposes Daisy’s wavering loyalty but also pushes Gatsby to his breaking point.

Throughout the novel, Tom perpetuates a toxic cycle of jealousy, anger, and revenge. His aggressive nature and disregard for the consequences of his actions ultimately contribute to the tragic end of Gatsby’s grand illusion and, ultimately, his life.

In conclusion, Tom Buchanan’s role in the chain of events leading to Gatsby’s death cannot be overstated. His sense of entitlement, animosity towards Gatsby, and affair with Daisy all play a significant part in the unfolding tragedy. Through his actions and words, Tom plants the seeds of Gatsby’s downfall, making him ultimately responsible for Gatsby’s tragic end.

Tom’s Jealousy and Betrayal

Tom Buchanan’s jealousy and betrayal play a significant role in Gatsby’s death. Throughout the novel, Tom’s emotions and actions towards Gatsby are driven by his jealousy and fear of losing Daisy. This jealousy becomes evident in key quotes and moments that ultimately lead to tragic consequences.

  • “Tom’s eyes moved restlessly from Daisy to Gatsby, and then back to Daisy.” – This quote highlights Tom’s jealousy as he observes Daisy’s interactions with Gatsby. It signifies his fear of losing her to Gatsby and his need to assert his dominance in their relationship.
  • “I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife.” – Tom’s dismissive and condescending remark about Gatsby emphasizes his jealousy and resentment towards him. It shows his belief that Gatsby is unworthy of Daisy’s attention and his refusal to accept their relationship.
  • “Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!… I’ll tell you what I want you to do. Go upstairs and get in your things. We’re going home.” – Tom’s command to Daisy showcases his control over her and his unwillingness to let her make her own choices. His possessiveness stems from his jealousy towards Gatsby, leading to a destructive and manipulative relationship dynamic.

Additionally, Tom’s betrayal of Gatsby contributes to the tragedy. Despite having an affair himself, Tom exposes Gatsby’s secret illegal activities to Daisy in an attempt to discredit him and protect his own reputation. This betrayal further deepens the divide between Gatsby and Daisy, ultimately leading to Gatsby’s downfall.

Quotes Analysis
“He’s a bootlegger.”” Tom exposes Gatsby’s illegal activities, tarnishing his image and reputation in Daisy’s eyes.
“But it was all true. (…) He had no intention of being rumored into marriage. He gave his name to no one on the road.” Tom reveals Gatsby’s true identity and discredits his intentions, further disintegrating Daisy’s trust in him.

In conclusion, Tom’s deep-rooted jealousy and betrayal towards Gatsby contribute significantly to Gatsby’s tragic demise. His inability to overcome his jealousy, coupled with his willingness to betray Gatsby, ultimately leads to dire consequences for both Gatsby and himself.

The Disastrous Love Triangle

In “The Great Gatsby,” the love triangle between Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby, and Daisy Buchanan proves to be disastrous for all involved. This complex relationship serves as a catalyst for the tragic events that unfold in the story.

Daisy’s indecisiveness:

Throughout the novel, Daisy wavers between her love for Gatsby and her responsibility towards her husband, Tom. She is torn between the luxurious and exciting lifestyle Gatsby offers and the stability and social status Tom provides. Her indecisiveness is evident in her actions and quotes such as “I love you now—isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past” (Fitzgerald, Chapter 7). This indecisiveness ultimately leads to disastrous consequences for all parties involved.

Confrontation between Tom and Gatsby:

The tension between Tom and Gatsby reaches its climax during a heated confrontation at the Plaza Hotel. This scene highlights the intensity of their rivalry over Daisy. Tom, realizing that Gatsby’s wealth is equally artificial as his own, questions Gatsby’s credibility and past, saying, “Who is this Gatsby anyhow?… An Oxford man!… He wears a pink suit!” (Fitzgerald, Chapter 7). This confrontation fuels the animosity and violence that ultimately contributes to Gatsby’s demise.

Gatsby’s pursuit of the unattainable:

Gatsby’s love for Daisy is characterized by his relentless pursuit of an unattainable dream. He idolizes her as the epitome of wealth and beauty, going to great lengths to win her affections and recreate the past they shared. This is evident in Gatsby’s desperate appeal to Daisy, where he exclaims, “Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course, you can!” (Fitzgerald, Chapter 6). Gatsby’s unrealistic expectations and inability to accept the reality of Daisy’s marriage to Tom contribute to the tragic outcome of the story.

The collapse of the love triangle:

The love triangle ultimately collapses when Daisy, under pressure from Tom, chooses to remain with her husband. Gatsby cannot accept this outcome, as he is convinced that Daisy will leave Tom and be with him. The collapse of the love triangle is signified by Gatsby’s demise, as he becomes a casualty of the conflict between Tom and himself.


The disastrous love triangle between Tom, Gatsby, and Daisy in “The Great Gatsby” serves as a central theme that drives the tragic events of the novel. Daisy’s indecisiveness, the confrontations between Tom and Gatsby, Gatsby’s pursuit of an unattainable dream, and the ultimate collapse of the love triangle all contribute to the devastating outcome of the story.

The Symbolism of Key Quotes

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby,” key quotes serve as symbols that deepen our understanding of the characters and their actions. These quotes shed light on the themes of wealth, illusion, and the American Dream. Let’s explore the symbolism of some of these key quotes:

  1. “I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

    This quote, spoken by Daisy Buchanan, encapsulates the societal expectations placed upon women in the 1920s. Daisy’s desire for her daughter to be a “fool” suggests her understanding that intelligence and independence may lead to dissatisfaction in a male-dominated world. This quote symbolizes the constraints placed on women during this time and foreshadows the tragic consequences of Daisy’s own choices.

  2. “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”

    This quote, spoken by Jay Gatsby, reflects his naive belief in the power of reinvention and the pursuit of the American Dream. Gatsby’s relentless pursuit of Daisy despite their past reveals his deep-seated desire to recreate a romanticized version of their relationship and recapture the past. This quote serves as a symbol for the illusion of nostalgia and the dangers of trying to recreate something that is already lost.

  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.”

    This quote, spoken by Nick Carraway, highlights the theme of wealth and the destructive power it can have on relationships and individuals. Tom and Daisy, as symbols of the wealthy elite, represent the callousness and indifference towards the consequences of their actions. Their wealth acts as a shield that allows them to avoid responsibility and escape the consequences of their destructive behavior.

  4. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

    This final quote, which concludes the novel, embodies the theme of the unattainable American Dream. The image of boats resisting the current symbolizes the struggle to achieve success and happiness in a society driven by materialism and superficiality. The idea of being “borne back ceaselessly into the past” suggests that the past influences and controls the present, making it impossible to escape the mistakes and regrets of previous actions.

These key quotes in “The Great Gatsby” serve as potent symbols that add depth to the narrative and offer insights into the characters’ motivations and the overarching themes of the novel.

“His Money Symbolized a Deeper Corruption”

Gatsby’s extravagant wealth is often seen as a symbol of his corrupted ideals and the moral decay of the society in which he lives. This idea is illustrated by the quote, “His money symbolized a deeper corruption” (Fitzgerald, 1925, p. 127).

From the outside, Gatsby’s opulent lifestyle and parties may seem glamorous and enviable. However, this quote suggests that there is a darker side to Gatsby’s wealth. It implies that his wealth is not simply a result of hard work or legitimate business endeavors, but rather a product of immoral activities.

Gatsby’s quest for wealth is tied to his desire to win back Daisy, his lost love. He believes that by accumulating immense wealth, he will be able to win her back and recreate the love they once shared. This pursuit of material wealth at any cost reflects a deeper corruption in Gatsby’s character.

The quote also implies that the corruption extends beyond Gatsby himself. It suggests that the entire society in which he lives is corrupt, as his excessive wealth is celebrated and admired by many. This highlights the moral bankruptcy of the upper class during the Roaring Twenties, a period characterized by materialism and excess.

In conclusion, the quote “His money symbolized a deeper corruption” encapsulates the idea that Gatsby’s wealth represents a corruption of both his own character and the society in which he lives. It serves as a reminder of the moral decay and emptiness that underlie the pursuit of material wealth during the Jazz Age.

“Daisy Steps Through the Ashes”

In “The Great Gatsby,” the character Daisy plays a significant role in the downfall of Jay Gatsby. One key event that showcases her impact is when Daisy steps through the ashes.

Throughout the novel, ashes symbolize the destruction and decay underneath the glamorous surface of the wealthy social class. This metaphor is particularly apparent in the Valley of Ashes, a desolate wasteland located between West Egg and New York City.

When Daisy visits Gatsby’s mansion, she is fully aware of the extravagant parties and luxuries he has acquired to win her back. However, as she witnesses the reality of Gatsby’s wealth, she unintentionally steps through the ashes, symbolizing her crossing over into the darker side of their relationship.

This act signifies Daisy’s acknowledgment of the consequences and destruction caused by her choices. By stepping through the ashes, Daisy steps into the tragic fate that awaits them all. The ashes represent the consequences of Daisy’s careless actions, leading to Gatsby’s death.

Furthermore, Daisy’s decision to stay with Tom Buchanan, her husband, despite her love for Gatsby, ultimately seals Gatsby’s fate. Her loyalty to the established social order, represented by Tom, perpetuates the cycle of wealth and power, leaving Gatsby on the outside looking in.

In conclusion, Daisy’s pivotal moment of stepping through the ashes foreshadows the tragic outcome and highlights her role in Gatsby’s death. Her crossing over into the consequences of her actions signifies her complicity in the destructive events that unfold. Daisy’s loyalty to the established social order and her refusal to break free from it ultimately leads to Gatsby’s demise, making her ultimately responsible for his death.

“Her Voice Was Full of Money”

One of the most memorable quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is “Her voice was full of money.” This quote is spoken by Jay Gatsby as he describes Daisy Buchanan, his long-lost love interest and the object of his obsession.

This quote is significant as it reveals the complex relationship between wealth, love, and the American Dream in the novel. Gatsby associates Daisy’s voice with money, suggesting that her wealth and material possessions are an integral part of her identity. This reflects the materialistic nature of the society depicted in the novel, where one’s value is often measured by their possessions and social status.

Furthermore, the quote also highlights Gatsby’s belief that wealth can buy happiness and love. He sees Daisy as a symbol of everything he desires and believes that by accumulating wealth, he can win her back and fulfill his own dreams of social ascent. The emphasis on Daisy’s voice being “full of money” suggests that money is not only a physical possession but also represents power, glamour, and allure.

However, the quote also reveals Gatsby’s naivety and the ultimate emptiness of his pursuit of wealth. While he believes that money can win Daisy’s love, he fails to recognize the true nature of their relationship. Daisy is ultimately drawn to Tom Buchanan, her wealthy and established husband, highlighting the role of class and social hierarchy in their world.

The quote “Her voice was full of money” serves as a reminder of the unfulfilled aspirations and illusions of the characters in The Great Gatsby. It symbolizes the corruption of the American Dream, where material success and wealth are valued above all else, even personal relationships and happiness.

In conclusion, “Her voice was full of money” is a key quote in The Great Gatsby that explores the themes of wealth, love, and the pursuit of the American Dream. It encapsulates the materialistic nature of the society depicted in the novel and highlights Gatsby’s misguided belief that money can buy happiness and love. Ultimately, this quote reveals the emptiness and inherent corruption of the characters’ aspirations and serves as a critique of the American Dream itself.

“Gatsby Believed in the Green Light”

Gatsby’s belief in the green light serves as a powerful symbol throughout the novel and reflects his unwavering pursuit of his American Dream. The green light, located at the end of Daisy’s dock, represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for a future with Daisy.

The green light is introduced early on in the novel when Nick describes Gatsby’s initial encounter with Daisy. He observes, “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way…and distinguished nothing except a single green light” (Fitzgerald, 20). This image of Gatsby reaching out towards the green light symbolizes his longing to be reunited with Daisy and his desire for a better future.

Throughout the story, the green light remains a constant presence in Gatsby’s life, with the narrator noting, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us” (Fitzgerald, 180). This quote highlights Gatsby’s belief in the possibility of achieving his dream and his unwavering hope in the face of obstacles.

Gatsby’s belief in the green light is significant because it represents the illusions and false promises of the American Dream. The green light symbolizes the pursuit of wealth, status, and the attainment of happiness, which ultimately elude Gatsby. Despite his grandiose parties and lavish lifestyle, Gatsby’s dream remains unattainable.

The green light also reflects the themes of disillusionment and the emptiness of the American Dream. Gatsby’s obsession with the green light blinds him to the reality of Daisy and their relationship. He idealizes Daisy and fails to see her flaws, choosing instead to focus on his own idealized version of her.

In conclusion, Gatsby’s belief in the green light is a central aspect of his character and plays a significant role in his pursuit of the American Dream. However, his obsession with the green light ultimately leads to his downfall, as it represents the illusions and false promises associated with the pursuit of wealth and happiness.

Question and answer:

Why is Tom ultimately responsible for Gatsby’s death?

Tom is ultimately responsible for Gatsby’s death because he reveals Gatsby’s true identity to George Wilson, which leads to George killing Gatsby. Additionally, Tom manipulates Daisy into leaving Gatsby and returning to him, which ultimately leads to Gatsby’s demise.

How does Tom reveal Gatsby’s true identity?

Tom reveals Gatsby’s true identity to George Wilson after Myrtle’s death. He tells George that Gatsby is the owner of the yellow car that killed Myrtle. This revelation leads George to believe that Gatsby is also his wife’s lover and ultimately causes him to seek revenge by killing Gatsby.

What role does Tom play in Daisy leaving Gatsby?

Tom plays a significant role in Daisy leaving Gatsby. He manipulates Daisy into believing that Gatsby is not worthy of her love and wealth by exposing his criminal activities and his lack of social status. This manipulation ultimately convinces Daisy to leave Gatsby and return to Tom.

Are there any other factors that contribute to Gatsby’s death?

While Tom plays a significant role in Gatsby’s death, there are other factors that contribute to his demise. Gatsby’s own naivety and obsession with Daisy also play a role, as he believes that he can recreate the past and win Daisy’s love despite the obstacles in their way. Additionally, Myrtle’s affair with Tom and her subsequent death also contribute to the chain of events that lead to Gatsby’s demise.


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