Montag encounters Shakespeare's works, the poem "Dover Beach", and the bible. What is the significance of each of these texts?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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These texts are all central to the message of this book. The texts that the author chose to allude to had to be very specifically chosen because this is a book about censorship.

Shakespeare is often regarded as a master of the human experience. Few authors have captured the best and worst of man like Shakespeare. He reveals the truth of man in emotion, vindication, sin, deception, and love. He demonstrates the power of influence and relationships like no other. He models man's ability to persuade each other. His characters struggle through the thought processes of life. Readers love Shakespeare because they can relate to what his characters experience. Fahrenheit 451 is all about robbing society of the opportunity to experience Shakespeare or other authors.

"Dover Beach" puts the beauty of landscape to words. Likewise, the speaker expresses conditions of faith and love. These are each deep experiences of the human soul which require great thought and emotion. Humans relate to the poem because it is an expression of the struggle with religion (at the time, people were leaving the church in droves in England). Additionally, the speaker wants to express love in word and deed. Keeping with the natural scene, the speaker wishes to experience the greatest features of a love relationship right then and there. In the society of Fahrenheit 451, these possible expressions and experiences are not only lost, but they feel immoral.

The Bible is representative of faith and morality. The God of the bible positions believers to follow Him based on their free will. The bible seeks to encourage fairness and forgiveness. None of these are acceptable in the society of Fahrenheit 451. The bible's book of Ecclesiates becomes Montag's memory. The 3rd chapter expresses all of the "times". There is a time to mourn, and a time to dance. There is a time to weep, and a time to rejoice. This seems to be particularly relevant to Montag because he is undergoing a transformation by the end of the story. There was a time for the life of blindness that he once led, and now there is a time for renewal and awareness. The end of the book also refers to the city of Zion which is heaven that the men in Montag's group may be travelling towards.

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