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Greek Mythology in the Great Gatsby

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Benoit Jauniaux

on 13 January 2015

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Transcript of Greek Mythology in the Great Gatsby

Greek Mythology In The Great Gatsby
Benoit Jauniaux
The Sirens
Fitzgerald educated in Greek Mythology.

Use of mystical/magical characters and themes.

Links his characters Greek mythological ones

Relates to themes and morals of greed, surrealism and corruption.
Myth outline
Myth outline
Myth outline
Zeus believed to be very powerful (money and possessions).

He constantly cheated on his wife Hera, often changing form when he did so.
The Great Gatsby
The significance in the novel
The Great Gatsby
The significance in the novel
The Great Gatsby
The significance in the novel

He also destroyed anyone who could potentially overthrow him, like he did to his father.
arrogant eyes
", very powerful upper class man, inherited wealth.

East Egg, & West Egg -
“the less fashionable of the two”.

“A lot of these newly rich people are just bootleggers”-
threatening traditional values.

Cheats on Daisy admitting
“Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself”.

“Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife”

“white race will be submerged”
and the rich overcome by
“common swindlers
” such as Gatsby.

Imprisoned on the island of Crete.

Daedalus built wings to escape.

Sun is dangerous.

Icarus soared through the sky recklessly.

He fell into the sea to his death.

The upper class (Tom) destroys Gatsby as he tries too hard to get to it.

Icarus flew too near to the sun.

Theme/moral of greed and ambition. Fitzgerald uses Daisy to show;
"you want too much"-
Gatsby beginning to fail.

Gatsby and Icarus both want too much and aim too high. Greed is their downfall.

Dan Cody was his father figure; his yacht
"represented all the beauty and glamor in the world."

Ella Kaye- a warning in the wealthy world.

Gatsby eventually enjoys Daisy, too much.

Ignorant to danger: (upper class-
"careless people...they smashed up things and creatures"

Ignorant that he is being defeated by Tom.

"speak to Daisy alone"

Gatsby unnatural climb up the hierarchy ladder .

The sirens were sea nymphs, whose voices would lure the sailors towards them with their beauty and false promises.
(Odysseus on his famous return home, encounters the sirens).
The sailors would drown trying to get to their island.
Daisy- a temptress who plays around with two men.
Daisy’s voice is irresistibly seductive, most mentioned character description.

Her voice
“full of money”
and she makes people
“lean towards her”
Enchanting and alluring until the end- reader learns something Nick had
"never understood before".

“you know I love you”-
Gatsby's weakness and this is how she can lure him in.
Daisy’s voice also promises wonderful things are on the horizon.
Yet, in the end only tragedies result from her actions.
Daisy = Modern siren

Her voice is described as:
“arrangement of notes”,
“follow the sound of it for a moment”.

“an excitement in her voice…a promise”
-sirens used their voices and promises to lure sailors to them.

“The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain”.

Fitzgerald emphasizes the description Daisy’s
“glowing and singing”

Sirens calls are unavoidable/Daisy's voice is
“the kind of voice that the ear follows up and then down”.

“deathless song”
, like that of the sirens, shows it is omnipotent in her victim’s minds.

Fitzgerald shows that Greek mythology is intrinsic not only to his novel, but also everyday life.
An eternal society run by
wealth and those who
desire it .

Fitzgerald inspired by Zeus when creating his character Tom.

Powerful men.

Sees other social classes as a threat to his ‘throne’, like Zeus does with any rising threat within the Gods -
"sneering at family life and family institutions"-
racist ideology

Tom disliked but wins. In the same way, Zeus wins-
" let other people clean up the mess they had made..."

Both stories share the moral that in an unequal society, the rules of the rich and powerful dictate the future.
Dan Cody- father figure because of his wealth and experience. (Daedalus)

Poverty is symbolised like a prison:

Boat escapes poverty- Icarus' wings.

Daisy represents both innocence/purity and evil. Wears
yet is
"smashes creatures"

“her voice is full of money”

Icarus is distracted by its joyfulness, but eventually can no longer have it.

Lured by Daisy's green light instead of flying, Gatsby is distracted.

Daisy says she

Gatsby stretches his arms out to the green light across the water: readers imagine him diving!

Her voice = Gatsby desires –
Daisy herself
social status
true happiness
- irresistible.

Gatsby’s death in a pool as he looks across the bay?

Shared moral of wealth and illusions:

Money may be the cause of evil, but only if you blindly follow the dreams that it claims it can help you buy. Happiness can be found with or without money, but illusions can destroy it.


social differences


unachievable idealism

Full transcript