Nick Carraway :
He is the novel's narrator. Gatsby and most of what happens in the novel are described through his eyes.
He comes to NewYork to learn something about the stock business a fashionable job in the time before the Depression. He moves to West Egg the home of the newly rich, on Long Island. He is a newcomer to the world of enormous wealth and lives in a shabby bungalow next to Gatsby's impressive mansion.
Because he is the cousin of Daisy, Gatsby's old love, he has to play the role of a go-between for Gatsby to "refresh" their old love and bring them together again.
Besides this he is a little bit in love with Jordan Baker, Daisy's best friend although he disapproves of her immorality.
Nick is a young, intelligent and clever man who has and wants to keep a distance to the rich people who come together in Gatsby's house. In his eyes they are all superficial and amoral.
Jay Gatsby :
He is the protagonist.
He is very wealthy and famous for his parties on every Saturday night. The people at his parties belong to the high-society.
At the beginning he is very mysterious because none of his guests know where he comes from, what he works or how he has made his fortune, so there are many rumors about his life.
Gradually the readers get some information about his life, stories about different people and thus different perspectives. His real name is James Gatz and he comes from North Dakota. He worked for a millionaire who gave him the possibility to achieve s fortune. As an officer in Louisville he fell in love with Daisy, Nick's cousin. He wanted to marry Daisy then but as he was on a much lower social level. Daisy decided to marry Tom. All his later life was determined by the wish to get Daisy back.
He got his fortune through criminal activities which he considered necessary to impress Daisy.
He is very optimistic and works hard and has great power to transform his dreams into reality.
Daisy Buchanan :
She is Nick's cousin and the woman Gatsby loves. She fell in love with Gatsby when he was an officier in Louisville. She promised to wait for him but then she decided to marry Tom Buchanan, obviously for financial reasons.
They both live across of Gatsby's mansion in East Egg. Daisy is not happy in her marriage she describes Tom as a "brute" of a man.
She knows about her husband's love-affairs and tries to hide her pain. She is intelligent, beautiful and belongs to the high-society.
Tom Buchanan :
He is Daisy's husband and so the antagonist of the conflict. He easily becomes aggressive, is very athletic and good looking. He is very dominating and superficial. It's normal for him to have a love affair but he goes mad when he suspects Daisy and Gatsby of having an affair.
He plays a big and tragic role in the end of the novel when he tells Wilson about the accident.
Jordan Baker :
She is the best friend of Daisy's. She represents the modern woman who is sportive, independent, rich.
She is very successful and beautiful and Nick loves her. She is also corrupt and amoral. We get to know this because she cheated in her 1st golf tournament to win the 1st place and she even does not have any scruples about it.
Myrtle Wilson :
She lives with her husband in a run-down garage and would like to be rich like the other women around Tom. She has a love-affair with Tom but Tom doesn't love her she is only a kind of sex-object or status-symbol for him. She wants to leave her husband, who locks her up in the house in the end, thus contibuting to her tragic death in the car accident.
George Wilson :
He is the husband of Myrtle. He owns a run-down garage and deals with cars.
He is fanatic about his wife and loves her more than anything else. Her love-affair with Tom makes him lose his mind. He seems to be exhausted by the difficulties of life. When his wife is killed he goes completely mad and tries to find the murderer to take revenge.