Fahrenheit 451: A Character Study.

Essay by ckoski02Junior High, 9th gradeA, May 2003

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Within the first few pages of Ray Bradbury's timeless classic, Fahrenheit 451, the reader is introduced to Guy Montag, the main character, and intended protagonist.

Compounding the overall conflict is the inarticulate style of character development that Bradbury is known for.

Mildred, Montag's wife, cannot be accurately described in any way. She is often described as being empty. Her life revolves around her Seashell radio and her three-walled television. All she ever had, it seems, was her Family, her 'friends' and the White Clown. When Mildred first realized that her husband had brought home a book, she demanded that it be destroyed. When he refused to do so, she had her own house destroyed, along with everything she ever had. This seems to make her one of many protagonists, but it was her herself that placed the call to the Fire Department. This makes her somewhat of a nebulous character.

Beatty, Montag's supervisor, is most often termed the primary antagonist of the novel. Bradbury uses him to portray the power of the system. However, it is all to clear the Beatty actively attempts to save Montag from his own fate. He advises him not to read books. Beatty goes so far as to even say "We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the constitution says, but everyone made equal ... A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man's mind." This was a last-ditch attempt to save him. When Montag still fragrantly flouts this law, Beatty sends the Hound to try and warn him. Finally, after all his attempts, Montag himself murders Beatty in cold blood. Bradbury attempts to justify Beatty's death by saying repeatedly that "he [Beatty] wanted to die...