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First he nodded politely, and then his face broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we'd been in ecstatic cahoots on that fact all the time.
Gatsby is the defacto hero of Fitzgerald's novel and Tom is the villian.
If there is an antagonist or a villain in the novel, it is Tom.
He is racist and he generally mistreats everyone he comes into contact with.
The two men come into conflict over Daisy, a woman they both wish to claim for their own.
Tom is a bigoted and brutal man, repeatedly identified by his physical characteristics.Nick initially despises Tom and this increases as the novel goes on.Nick initially likes Gatsby but does not approve of certain aspects of his lifestyle.He is “one of the most powerful ends that ever played football” at Yale and is often described in his square-shouldered, intimidating physicality.Tom's moral character is evidenced by the things he does - he hits Myrtle; he cheats on his wife; he strings along George Wilson giving the man hope then leading him to murder Jay Gatsby. He was raised in a very wealthy family and takes his wealth entirely for granted (along with the privileges and power that accompany that wealth). Gatsby has built everything he has on his own, rising from relative poverty to great riches.It is not simply put that Tom is bad and Gatsby is good but for the most part, Gatsby is our flawed but idealistic hero and Tom is the villain.Note how Nick's perspective of Tom and Gatsby helps to inform the reader.Even though he does this for love, his actions eventually lead to disaster.However, Tom is equally if not more culpable for the tragic events that unfold.One thing Gatsby and Tom have in common is their infatuation with money.Gatsby got a taste for wealthy life when he met Dan Cody and his strategy for winning Daisy back, years later, also necessitated (in Gatsby's mind) the accumulation of more wealth.