Thomas "Tom" Buchanan is the main antagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. He represents the corruption of old money and how no matter how much money a person has, they would never be accepted in the upper society.

In the 2013 film adaptation, he was portrayed by Joel Edgerton. In the original film adaptation, he was portrayed by Bruce Dern.


Tom Buchanan was the husband of Daisy Fay and also the father of a young girl. He was noted as being very arrogant and brutish, and had no qualms with destroying other people's lives just as long as it benefited him.

When Nick Carroway decided to visit his distant cousin Daisy and see what the East was like, he immediately noticed that Tom was having a not-so subtle affair on his wife. Tom then takes him into the city and makes him get off and see his mistress. Her name was Myrtle, who was married to George Wilson the owner of the gas station. Later on, he breaks Myrtle's nose while at a party after she repeatedly said Daisy's name much to his chagrin.

Tom also grew very suspicious with Jay Gatsby and with how he knew his wife. When he was suspecting that she was having an affair with him, he did some searching around and discovered  that Gatsby was secretly a bootlegger, and he uses this fact against Gatsby when he, Daisy, Gatsby, and Jordan were at the Plaza Hotel. When Gatsby firmly stated that Daisy would leave him, he laughs it off, stating that she would never leave him. When she said she was, he quickly exasperated reminding her of the things that only they knew of in secrecy. Daisy then leaves because she couldn't take all the arguing. She drives Gatsby's car, and runs over Mrs. Wilson. When Tom learns that Myrtle had been run over, he breaks down and plots revenge on Gatsby.

The next day, Tom convinces a grief-stricken George that Gatsby was the one who murdered his wife. Wilson then walks to Gatsby's residence and shoots him while he was floating on a mattress in his swimming pool. When Nick confronted Tom about his friend's murder, Tom admits that he had to tell Wilson that Gatsby killed his wife in order to save his own life. He felt no remorse for causing two men to die (Wilson shot himself after killing Gatsby) and stated that Gatsby got what was coming to him since he claimed Gatsby was driving the murder car. Nick then leaves in disgust, and returns to the West.


Tom was a very vain, pompous, and egotistical individual who would use his great wealth to escape consequences because of his actions. He also was extremely uncharitable and callous with other people. In fact, anyone can believe that he was sobbing for Myrtle not because of her, but because he just lost another toy and would later go back to his wife and treat her as one. He was also shown to be very hypocritical, sanctimonious, manipulative, and unreliable. When he discovered that his wife was having an affair, he was infuriated never mind the fact that he was doing the exact same thing. To add to this, he also had xenophobic tendencies. He believed that he was a part of a Caucasian race called the Nordics, and it was their duty to suppress the non-white, inferior races before they overthrew the Nordic race. He might as well may have had a sociopathic nature. He would exploit other people without any remorse to the point where he caused two men to be killed even though it was shown that Gatsby's dreams were in shambles and that he would never get Daisy. Or, alternatively, is Tom just the product of what kind of effect money has on people?