In many books and also movies, the "other woman"—the woman having actually an affair v a married man—is frequently painted together a villain. But what about in The great Gatsby, a novel in i m sorry both married ladies (Myrtle Wilson and also Daisy Buchanan) are having affairs? especially given that one (Daisy) end up death the other (Myrtle), is Myrtle just a one-note "other woman," or is there more to her?

Myrtle"s function in the story isn"t as large as Daisy"s, Gatsby"s, or Tom"s. However, she is critical to the plot the the story, and especially come its tragic conclusion. Find out much more about Myrtle"s role in Gatsby in this guide!

Article Roadmap

Myrtle together a characterCharacter Analysis

Quick keep in mind on our Citations

Our citation style in this guide is (chapter.paragraph). We"re using this system since there are numerous editions of Gatsby, so using web page numbers would certainly only work-related for students through our copy of the book. To discover a quotation we mention via chapter and paragraph in your book, you have the right to either eyeball the (Paragraph 1-50: beginning of chapter; 50-100: center of chapter; 100-on: finish of chapter), or use the search duty if you"re using an digital or eReader variation of the text.

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Myrtle Wilson"s physics Description


Then i heard footsteps on the stairs and also in a minute the thickish figure of a mrs blocked out the irradiate from the office door. She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, yet she carried her excess flesh sensuously as some ladies can. Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, consisted of no side or gleam that beauty however there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering. She smiled slowly and walking through her husband as if he were a ghost shook hands v Tom, feather him flush in the eye. (2.15)


Unlike Nick"s summary of Daisy, which concentrates on her voice, mannerisms, and also charm, and also unlike his summary of Jordan, which concentrates on her posture and athleticism, Nick"s description of Myrtle focuses virtually entirely on she body itself. perhaps this fits through her function as Tom"s mistress, but it also indicates Nick sees little in Myrtle in regards to intellect or personality.

This description likewise speaks to the solid physical attraction in between Tom and also Myrtle the undergirds their affair. This attraction serves as a foil to the an ext deep-seated emotionally attraction in between Gatsby and Daisy, the novel"s main affair.

Myrtle before the Novel Begins

We don"t understand a ton about Myrtle Wilson"s background except what we have the right to gather indigenous the passing comment from other characters. Because that example, we get the feeling Myrtle loved her husband as soon as they obtained married, however has since been disappointed through his lack of cash and also social status, and also now feels stifled by she twelve-year marriage:


"I married him due to the fact that I assumed he was a gentleman," she stated finally. "I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn"t fit to lick my shoe."

"You to be crazy about him because that a while," claimed Catherine.

"Crazy around him!" cry Myrtle incredulously. "Who claimed I to be crazy about him? I never was any more crazy about him than I was around that male there."

She pointed suddenly at me, and also every one looked at me accusingly. Ns tried to present by mine expression the I had played no part in her past.

"The just crazy ns was was once I married him. I knew ideal away ns made a mistake. He borrowed somebody"s best suit to obtain married in and never even told me around it, and also the guy came after it one day once he was out. She looked about to see who to be listening: " "Oh, is the your suit?" ns said. "This is the an initial I ever heard about it." but I provided it come him and then ns lay down and cried come beat the tape all afternoon."

"She really ought to get away indigenous him," resumed Catherine to me. "They"ve to be living over the garage because that eleven years. And also Tom"s the very first sweetie she ever had." (2.112-7)


She begins her affair through Tom Buchanan after he sees she on the train and later presses against her in the station:


I was going increase to brand-new York to view my sister and also spend the night. He had actually on a dress suit and patent leather shoes and also I couldn"t store my eyes turn off him yet every time he looked in ~ me I had to ~ do so to it is in looking at the advertising over his head. Once we came right into the station he was alongside me and also his white shirt-front pressed versus my arm--and so i told that I"d have actually to call a policeman, but he knew i lied. Ns was for this reason excited that as soon as I acquired into a taxi with him i didn"t hardly know I wasn"t obtaining into a subway train" (2.120).


Myrtle desperately wants to come off as sophisticated and wealthy in spite of her humble roots. Nick find her initiatives tacky and vulgar, and he spends a the majority of time commenting on her clothes, mannerisms, and conversational style.

She is oblivious about upper-class life: she tells she sister at one suggest Tom doesn"t divorce Daisy since Daisy is Catholic. This is a small inside joke on Fitzgerald"s part—since Tom and Daisy are component of the ar of uber-WASPy residents of east Egg, there"s virtually no opportunity that Daisy could be Catholic. The Myrtle think accepts Tom"s lie mirrors that she is not a well-schooled as she think she is about the life and also customs the the elite class she wants to it is in a component of.

Still, prior to the novel begins, Tom has gained comfortable reflecting Myrtle about in famous restaurants and doesn"t hide the affair. Probably this causes Myrtle come misunderstand what she way to Tom: she doesn"t seem to establish she"s simply one in a wire of mistresses.

To see Myrtle"s life events alongside those of the various other characters, inspect out our timeline that The good Gatsby.


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Summary the Myrtle"s action in the Novel

The idea that Myrtle Wilson is introduced in thing 1, when she call the Buchanans" home to speak come Tom.

We get our first look in ~ Myrtle in chapter 2, once Nick goes with Tom to George Wilson"s garage to accomplish her, and also then to Myrtle"s apartment in Manhattan because that a party. On that day, she buys a dog, has sex through Tom (with Nick in the following room), throw a party, and also is fawned on by her friends, and then ends up v a broken nose once Tom punches her after she brings up Daisy. This doesn"t avoid her from proceeding the affair.

Later on, in thing 7, George beginning to suspect she"s having actually an affair once he finds she dog"s leash in a drawer at the house. That locks she upstairs in your house, figured out to move out west once he gets the money from the car sale he"s wait on from Tom. Myrtle glimpses Tom, in addition to Nick and also Jordan, as they drive up to Manhattan in Gatsby"s yellow car.

Myrtle and also George fight later that evening, and Myrtle manages to operation out the the house after yelling in ~ George come beat her and calling him a coward. Just then, she clues the yellow auto heading earlier for lengthy Island. Thinking it"s Tom, she runs toward and then the end in former of the car, waving she arms. Yet Daisy is driving the car, and she decides to operation over Myrtle rather than gain into a head-on collision through an oncoming car. She hits Myrtle, who dies instantly.

Myrtle"s fatality emotionally and mentally devastates George, i m sorry prompts that to murder Gatsby (who he mistakes for both his wife"s killer and lover), and then death himself.

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The death car.

Key Myrtle Wilson Quotes


Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time before and was now attired in an intricate afternoon dress of cream colored chiffon, which provided out a consistent rustle together she swept around the room. With the affect of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The extreme vitality that had been so impressive in the garage to be converted into impressive hauteur. She laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment and also as she increased the room prospered smaller around her till she appeared to it is in revolving ~ above a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air. (2.56)


Here, we see Myrtle transformed from her an ext sensuous, physical persona into that of someone desperate come come off as richer 보다 she actually is. Wielding strength over her team of friends, she appears to revel in her very own image.

Unlike Gatsby, who jobs an elaborately rich and worldly character, Myrtle"s persona is much an ext simplistic and transparent. (Notably Tom, who instantly sees Gatsby as a fake, doesn"t seem to mind Myrtle"s pretensions—perhaps due to the fact that they space of no consequence to him, or any type of kind the a danger to his lifestyle.)


"Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!" shouted Mrs. Wilson. "I"ll say it whenever I desire to! Daisy! Dai----"

Making a brief deft motion Tom Buchanan damaged her nose with his open hand. (2.125-126)


Here we view Myrtle advertise her boundaries with Tom—and realizing the he is both violent and totally unwilling to be honest about his marriage.

While both personalities are willful, impulsive, and driven by their desires, Tom is violently asserting below that his requirements are more important 보다 Myrtle"s. ~ all, come Tom, Myrtle is just another mistress, and also just together disposable as all the rest.

Also, this injury foreshadows Myrtle"s fatality at the hands of Daisy, herself. if invoking Daisy"s surname here causes Tom to hurt Myrtle, Myrtle"s really encounter through Daisy later in the novel turns out to be deadly.


"Beat me!" the heard she cry. "Throw me down and also beat me, you dirty little coward!" (7.314)


When George confronts his wife around her affair, Myrtle is furious and needles at she husband—already insecure since he"s been cheated on—by insinuating he"s weak and also less of a guy than Tom. Also, their fight centers approximately her body and also its treatment, when Tom and Daisy fought previously in the same chapter about their feelings.

In this moment, we view that despite how dangerous and damaging Myrtle"s partnership with Tom is, she appears to be asking George come treat her in the same way that Tom has been doing. Myrtle"s disturbing accept of her role as a just a body—a piece of meat, basically—foreshadows the gruesome physicality of her death.


Michaelis and also this male reached her an initial but as soon as they had torn open her shirtwaist tho damp with perspiration, they witnessed that she left breast was swinging loose like a flap and also there was no must listen for the heart beneath. The mouth was vast open and also ripped at the corners together though she had choked a tiny in providing up the remarkable vitality she had actually stored so long. (7.317)


Even in death, Myrtle"s physicality and also vitality are emphasized. In fact, the picture is quite overtly sexual—notice how it"s Myrtle"s breast that"s torn open and swinging loose, and her mouth ripped open up at the corners. This echoes Nick"s watch of Myrtle as a woman and mistress, naught more—even in death she"s objectified.

This moment is also much more violent 보다 her earlier damaged nose. When that moment cemented Tom as abusive in the eye of the reader, this one truly shows the damages that Tom and also Daisy leave in their wake, and also shapes the tragic tone of the remainder of the novel.

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The graphic and also bloody nature the Myrtle"s death really sticks through you.

Common Essay Topics/ areas of Discussion

You will most likely be asked to write around Myrtle in relation to other personalities (especially Daisy), or in prompts that ask you to compare the "strivers" in the publication (including also Gatsby, George Wilson) v the old money set (Tom, Daisy, Jordan). To learn how best to strategy this sort of compare and contrast essay, review our short article on common character pairings and how to analysis them.

It"s much less likely, but not impossible, that you will be assigned a Myrtle-specific essay.

In either case, Myrtle"s most necessary chapters are 2 and 7, so close read those carefully. As soon as writing about her, salary close fist to Myrtle"s interaction with other characters. And also if you"re writing an essay the discusses Myrtle together someone trying to live the end the American Dream, make sure to attend to her bigger influences and motivations. We"ll take a look at at several of these tactics in action below.

Why execute Tom and Myrtle obtain Together? What do They watch in each Other?

For readers brand-new to Gatsby, Tom and also Myrtle"s relationship have the right to seem a little odd. Over there is noticeable physical chemistry, however it deserve to be difficult to check out why the classist, misogynist Tom puts up v Myrtle—or why Myrtle accepts Tom"s mistreatment.

For Tom, the affair—just one in a cable he"s had since his honeymoon—is about taking and also being able to get everything he wants. Having an work is a present of power. Especially because he"s been taking her roughly popular restaurants in Manhattan (2.4), it"s clean he"s not precisely hiding the relationship—instead, he"s flaunting it. He"s therefore assured of his ar in culture as a well-off man, the he"s free to connect in some risky and socially unreasonable behavior—because he knows no one deserve to actually touch his wide range or society position.

For Myrtle, the affair (her first) is about escape from she life with George, and also a taste of a world—Manhattan, money, nice things—she wouldn"t otherwise have access to. It"s clean from exactly how Myrtle moves and speaks the she"s confident and also self-assured, and also assumes the her partnership with Tom is a long-term ticket into the world of the wealthy—not simply a fleeting glimpse.

The truth that Tom sees Myrtle together disposable yet Myrtle wishes for much more in your relationship is painfully apparent at the end of thing 2, as soon as she insists top top bringing increase Daisy, and Tom responds by breaking Myrtle"s nose. But despite this nasty encounter, the two proceed their relationship, arguing that this kind of abuse is the norm because that Tom"s affairs, and also Myrtle is too eager to stay in the brand-new world she"s found—or even believes the Tom will still leaving Daisy because that her—that she remains as well.

By the finish of the novel, Myrtle doesn"t seem to have been completely mistaken around Tom"s affection because that her. After ~ all, Tom says he that he "cried prefer a baby" (9.145) as soon as he uncovered dog food for the dog he"s bought her in Myrtle"s apartment. Of course, due to the fact that it"s Tom, his grief is more than likely self-pitying 보다 selfless. One of two people way, their relationship is indicative of both your values: Myrtle"s ambition and Tom"s callousness.

What does Myrtle"s Life (and tragic Ending) Say about the American Dream?

Myrtle, favor George and Gatsby, to be obviously no born into money, and also instead is relying on her very own wits to do it in 1920s America. In a manner quite similar to Gatsby"s, she consciously through a various persona to shot and get accessibility to a richer circle (while George appears to be the just one relying on moral work—his shop—and moral relationships, v his loyalty to Myrtle, to boost his many in life).

But Myrtle aims too high, and also ends up eliminated when she mistake Gatsby"s yellow auto for Tom"s, and runs out in the road assuming the auto will avoid for her.

In the same method that Gatsby overestimates his worth to Daisy, Myrtle overestimates her worth to Tom. Also if Tom had actually been control the car, and even if he had actually stopped because that her, he would never have actually whisked she away native George, divorced Daisy, and also married her. Furthermore, the reality she suspect the garish yellow automobile was Tom"s shows how tiny she understands the stiff, old money civilization Tom come from.

Myrtle"s finish misunderstanding the Tom, and also her violent death, fit the overall pessimistic message in the publication that the American Dream is a false promise to those born external of the wealthy course in America. As tough as everyone tries, they don"t stand a possibility of completing with those in America born right into the old money class. They will certainly never know the strange inner rules that govern the old money set, and also will never ever stand a chance of being their equal.

How walk Myrtle"s house Reflect she Character, Attitudes, Beliefs, and also Values?

This is a prompt that you have the right to obviously usage for any kind of of the characters, however it"s especially interesting in Myrtle"s case, because she has two residences: the house above the auto shop that George owns, and also the apartment that Tom Buchanan leas for she in the city.

Myrtle"s house with George is a dark, hopeless picture of working class life in America: it"s one apartment above a ceiling garage, nestled in the disastrous Valley of Ashes. George is utterly mired in this home, even coated through a slim layer that ash indigenous the factory outside. In contrast, Myrtle is vivacious and totally free of the ash, which gives her a great of separation from she actual home.

Myrtle"s apartment with Tom is overstuffed and also gaudy, and she seems lot happier and an ext at home there. The mix that high-brow pretension in the decor v her low-brow entertainment speaks to exactly how Myrtle values the illustration of wealth and also sophistication, however doesn"t actually understand what upper-class taste looks prefer the means Tom and also Daisy Buchanan do.

So when the Wilson"s garage is a testament to the struggle of the working class in American in the 1920s, Myrtle and also Tom"s apartment is a physical depiction of the airs Myrtle place on and also the appearances of wealth she values.

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Myrtle"s taste in decor overlaps rather a little with King louis XIV"s.

Why specifically Does Myrtle Run into the Road?

One of the novel"s most important events is additionally one that have the right to be confusing because that students: namely, Myrtle"s death at the finish of thing 7. How specifically does she end up in the road? What go it need to do through her weird encounter through Tom, Nick, and also Jordan in the garage previously in the day?

The occurrence is confusing since we come in ~ it from countless narrative angles:

Setup native Nick"s allude of viewMichaelis"s inquest testimony about the accidentNick"s description of the accident scene ideal after Myrtle"s deathGatsby"s explanation of the accident come Nick after the fact

Piecing together these 3 takes on the incident, this is what happens, in order:

Before the accident, George has begun to suspect Myrtle"s affair.George locks Myrtle up over the garage, speak "She"s walk to remain there till the day after to-morrow, and also then we"re going to relocate away" (7.311).Michaelis, uncomfortable, find an excuse come leave.Tom, Jordan, and also Nick drive as much as the gas station in the yellow car. Tom brags that the car is his. Myrtle look at downstairs and concludes 2 things: first, the Jordan is Tom"s wife, and second, the Tom own the yellow car.Later the evening, Myrtle fights through George around being locked up. We don"t see lot of this fight. All we know is that she cries "throw me down and beat me!" (7.314) come George.Meanwhile, Gatsby and Daisy room driving back from Manhattan to eastern Egg after ~ the Plaza Hotel showdown.Myrtle runs outside.Outside, Myrtle watch the yellow car and also assumes it"s Tom on his means back to lengthy Island.Myrtle runs out to the car, waving her arms, likely because she thinks Tom will avoid for her and rescue her from George.At the same time, one more car is control in the contrary direction in the direction of Manhattan.When Daisy watch Myrtle in the road, she needs to make a quick decision: either run over Myrtle, or swerve into the oncoming auto to prevent Myrtle.Daisy very first drives toward the oncoming car, however at the critical second, turns earlier into her very own lane and also hits and kills Myrtle instead.

What"s Next?

Still a little bit confused around the orgasm of the novel? get a comprehensive recap that Chapters 7, 8 and 9 come understand precisely how the three deaths play out.

Learn more about Myrtle"s marriage and also her relationship with Tom end at our post around love and also relationships.

See more: A Global Village Can Be Best Characterized As A Business Climate In Which There Are

Still a little confused about the old money/new money/working course themes? Read about social class in the novel in our short article on the function of social classes in this novel.