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Love is a subjective and special word to each individuals. Each humans has their own thoughts and notions about love. This intense feeling of affection and bond can be the most incomparable and priceless state that one can ever be in. However, there is a fine line between love and obsession. This passionate intensity can only get exceedingly colossal and turns into a problem. The trouble of creating a false narrative in one’s mind and the one-sided expectations can harm the people in the relationship. In the poem She Walks In Beauty by Lord Byron and in Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the theme of obsessive love is explored and manifested. The characters in both poem and novel both bespeak their problematic intense devotion and love with a woman through their uncanny actions and troubling personas.
The speaker in Lord Byron’s poem and Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s novel both exhibit their obsessions with a particular woman. In She Walks In Beauty, the speaker is clearly consumed by the beauty of the woman. He evidently spends his time observing the individual that he knows every little facial feature that she possess. He talks about her external appearance in detail. He says, “And all that’s best of dark and bright / Meet in her aspect and her eyes;” (3-4). It is evident that the speaker even knows which light compliments her eyes. This can be perceived as obsession as he knows every single detail about the unnamed woman. In comparison, Gatsby from The Great Gatsby also demonstrates his obsessive love for Daisy. When Gatsby finally reaches the level of wealthness he dreams to be, he bought a house intentionally across the bay in hopes of being closer with her. Jordan Baker, a friend of Daisy, tells Nick that “It was not a strange coincidence at all…. [Gatsby] bought that house so that Daisy would just be across the bay” (Fitzgerald 65). It is apparent that Gatsby goes into great lengths and troubling extent in order to reunite with the idealized version of the woman that he has not seen for years. He is obsessed with the idea of having the perfect relationship with her. Both the speaker in the poem and Gatsby reveals their obsession through their strange actions.
Both characters reveal their obsession in both poem and the novel. In Lord Byron’s poem, the speaker is once again showing signs of obsession with the lady in the poem. He says “Had half impair’d the nameless grace / Which waves in every raven tress / Or softly lightens o’er her face” (8-10). It is clear that he spends a copious amount of time observing the woman. His intense infatuation with her is obvious to the point where it is disturbing how much he knows about her. It is uncanny that he explains her dark hair indicates the darkness of her beauty when he is not remotely close to the nameless woman. Subsequently, In The Great Gatsby, the protagonist Gatsby demonstrates his obsession with Daisy through the scrapbook that he stores in his house. The scrapbook contains all the letters and pictures of Daisy from the years he has seen her. Additionally, he constantly checks on her during the years of not living on the West Egg. Baker says, “When I said you were a friend of Tom’s, he started to abandon the whole idea. He doesn’t know very much about Tom, though he says he’s read a Chicago paper for years just on the chance of catching a glimpse of Daisy’s name” (Fitzgerald 66). This quote alone proves his obsessive behaviour as he is constantly investigating on her life and actions when they have not seen each other in years. Gatsby knows things about Daisy and stalks her by reading the paper. The speaker and Gatsby shows obsessive behaviours that is borderline creepy and uncomfortable.
The person in the poem and Gatsby shows similarities of obsessive love through their unsettling actions. The speaker in She Walks In Beauty can be called as bizarre. He weirdly describes her as beautiful when walking at night under the stars. He remarks “She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies” (1-2). It is evident that he is standing from distance observing the woman walk in the evening. This is disturbing and obsessive as he is watching her without her knowing. He is so uncomfortably besotted with her beauty that he examines the unnamed woman from a far at night. Similarly, Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s novel executes an action that patently shows his obsessiveness with Daisy. He stares at the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock most nights. Nick Carraway, Daisy’s cousin, mentions his “stretched out arm towards the dark water in a curious way… I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward- and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away” (Fitzgerald 20). Gatsby obsessively gazes at the green light in hopes and dreams of being with Daisy again. His undoubted obsessive love with her makes him carry out all his unusual and mysterious actions. His arms stretching out towards the green light symbolizes his dream of reuniting with Daisy even though she is with Tom. He is obsessed of wanting her to reciprocate his love that he will go out of his way to do anything for her. The individual in the poem and Gatsby both have extreme feelings for a woman to the point where it is strange and problematic.
Finally, the speaker in She Walks In Beauty and Gatsby in The Great Gatsby both exhibit their obsessive love through their bizarre and strange actions. The man’s deep and obsessive infatuation with the woman is shown through his creepy detailed descriptions while Gatsby’s intense love is demonstrated through his disturbing and unusual deeds. Their extreme passion towards their love for someone turns problematic and creepy. Both characters exhibit their obsessive behaviours patently and undeniably.
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