Critical Essay Sample on Psychoanalytic Superego Characters in The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that is perceived by critics as a cautionary tale on the so-called American Dream. Written in 1925, it tells the story of a wealthy man called Jay Gatsby who is obsessed with his estranged fiancee, Daisy Buchanan. The novel is noted for the way it accurately portrayed a segment of the nation’s society during the early twentieth century and is now considered a classic piece of American literature. This essay looks at The Great Gatsby from a psychoanalytic point of view and its superego characters.

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Character Description of Tom in the Great Gatsby

The structure of the mind is made up of the Id, which is the emotional and irrational part; the ego, which is the rational part; and the superego, which is the moral part. The character of Jay Gatsby, who is The Great Gatsby’s main protagonist, exhibits a unique combination of psychic apparatus that includes the superego. However, this superego is virtually non-existent in him. To a certain extent, Gatsby shows little or no sense of morality and an even less voice of reason. It is seen that he even tries to break up a marriage by trying to steal Daisy from her husband Tom in his misguided attempt to win back her heart. His failure to get her back eventually paves way for his death. Another way in which Gatsby displays the superego is by straining too much to achieve an ideal self. He puts a lot of effort to impress Daisy so that he can be with her. In order to achieve this, he works very hard so that he can become a wealthy man. Whatever Gatsby does is always aimed at achieving his ideal self, the same way the superego strains to set in motion actions that will help attain the ideal self.

Tom is an ideal representation of the irrational mind given that he is the morally corrupt and impulsive person who hails from a wealthy family. Hailing from a wealthy background, he is a spoiled and arrogant individual who thinks he owns everything. Tom is violent and selfish and does not seem to care who is hurt by his actions. He betrays Daisy, his wife, and George Wilson, his garage mechanic, by indulging in an extra-marital relationship with Myrtle Wilson just because engaging in an immoral act pleases him. Another example is when Myrtle makes him angry; he lashes out and gives her a violent blow that breaks her nose. Such violent and sexually-related actions are behaviors linked to an emotional and irrational mind.

Character Traits of Nick in the Great Gatsby

Nick Carraway, who narrates the story, mainly plays the role of Gatsby’s superego by providing him with judgments and warnings. Also, he brings to an end his relationship back at home so that he can begin another one with Jordan Baker. When compared to Tom, he is stuck in a class he does not belong to. While Tom is having all the fun, all Nick can do is try and keep Gatsby, his rich friend, out of trouble.

Daisy Character Definition of the Great Gatsby

Daisy does not seem to be aware that, when she lets Tom mistreat her, it gives her the notion that women are fools. Such a situation makes her have low self-esteem, hence allowing her husband to cheat on her. Also, when she informs Tom that she is in love with Gatsby, he is indifferent and pretends as if what she said is of no importance.

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