False Love and Its Downfall

A comparative analysis of the theme of love and false love in William Shakespeare’s King Lear, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby” and “Fifth Business” by Robertson Davies.

This paper examines how although “King Lear” by William Shakespeare, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Fifth Business” by Robertson Davies, are all very different works from different times and places, the main characters all possess a similar downfall or fatal flaw: They cannot distinguish true love from false love. It attempts to show how as a result, King Lear loses his kingdom and his life and how Nick Carraway, the narrator of “The Great Gatsby”, gets involved with a dangerous, immoral crowd and undergoes a personal struggle with his own morals and lifestyle. It also looks at how Dunstan Ramsay, the narrator of “Fifth Business, tells the tale of his life, throughout which he suffers because of his inability to let go of a woman from his past.
“In the Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway goes through his own hardships and makes his own mistakes. Most of these, like those of Lear, stem from his inability to distinguish between true and false love. He has an infatuation for Daisy Buchanan (one shared by many characters in the novel), and begins an affair with Jordan Baker, a cynical golfer. The problem, of course, is that he mistakes the infatuation or lust he has in the presence of these two women for real emotion, for real love. Because of this, he believes that they care for him, in some way at least, and that they are good people. As he finds out later, however, this is not the case.”

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