If you read The Great Gatsby as a love story, you're reading it wrong. Well, kind of.
You see, F. Scott Fitzgerald's most popular work is not the beautiful tragedy that "Romeo and Juliet" is or the feel-good romance of "High School Musical". No, The Great Gatsby is the depressing story that tells us love is hopeless, a waste of time. A man dedicates his whole life to one love and it gives him nothing but an extra hole in his head.
If you read this story as a love story, you're going to have a bad time because it's the antithesis of the traditional love story. The boy meets the girl, the boy loses the girl, and the boy never gets the girl despite all he tries.
Gatsby lost Daisy at a young age and found her only after she was married. He's dedicated his life to earning money and fame solely to win her back. He stares at the green light every single night, dreaming of love lost.
When Nick tells Gatsby "You can't repeat the past," he's not telling a lie. In fact, the whole novel revolves around this one point. While Nick is going on in life, making a name for himself for himself, Gatsby is making a name for himself solely so he can impress Daisy. Gatsby is nothing without her, nothing on his own, and he cannot get her back. Despite all his money and power, he is utterly worthless and he knows it, especially at the end.
Gatsby shows us that grand gestures don't mean anything, it tells us true love may not work out, and it shows us the tragedy of dedicating your life to a person, all feelings Fitzgerald was feeling at the time he wrote the novel.
You see, in the summer of 1924, Fitzgerald's marriage seemed to be falling apart. His wife, Zelda, had become intimately involved with a man she met when she and Fitzgerald moved to Paris. Fitzgerald had often neglected his love life in support of his dreams, his novels, but he often tried to repair the couple's relationship with grandiose gestures (like moving to Paris) but these rarely worked for long. When Fitzgerald wrote this novel, he drew from the feelings of betrayal, the sadness and despair he felt towards his and Zelda's marriage at the time. And Fitzgerald, often thinking terribly highly of himself, likely did not think he was to blame. He felt like Gatsby and wrote the novel in accordance.
So many people read The Great Gatsby without realizing the intentional irony in the title. To think Gatsby is great is to fail to understand the entire theme of the novel. The tragedy is to warn others about the hopelessness of being hopelessly in love. Fitzgerald never wanted anyone to read this as the traditional love story and he definitely did not want people to idolize Gatsby the way that they do. Gatsby is not a king, he's a fool, and that's the entire point. Gatsby has done so much to try to win this girl back and, at the end of the day, he can't. He's dedicated his whole life to her and it means nothing in the end. To read The Great Gatsby as a love story is to miss the point entirely.