Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
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Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

8) Why does Montag think Beatty wants to die?

Montag thinks Beatty wants to die because even though Montag is armed with a flamethrower, Beatty just stands there, “not really trying to save himself . . . joking, [and] needling.” Readers may infer that Beatty wants to die because, like Mildred, he is likely deeply unhappy and doesn’t value his life enough to even try to prevent Montag from killing him. In fact, Beatty may be less satisfied with life than Mildred because he is well read, a fact supported by his quoting many works of literature to taunt Montag, and he understands what society lost and how meaningless life is with the outlaw of books. Readers may also infer that Beatty’s continued taunting of Montag after Montag threatens to kill him with the flamethrower is a form of suicide: In that moment, “instead of shutting up and staying alive” he decides he wants to die and says what he needs to say to get Montag to pull the trigger.