Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby is both created and destroyed by the passionate disposition that gives rise to his feelings for Daisy Buchanan. By the time the novel begins, Gatsby has not seen Daisy for five years, but the power of his intoxicating infatuation has only grown in scope, despite the fact that Daisy has moved on, found a husband, borne a child, and initiated a life without Gatsby. On one level there is something seductively beautiful about Gatsby's pining devotion, but when studied through the lens of Freud's conception of mourning and melancholia, Gatsby's obsession becomes revealed for what it is: a pathological state of grieving that enslaves him. This article shines a light on this pathology and demonstrates how James Gatz's early childhood depravity sets the stage for Jay Gatsby's inevitable demise.

You do not currently have access to this content.