What does Montag suddenly realize about Beatty after he is dead?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Montag shot Beatty with his flamethrower, he hobbles through the city until he falls face first on the ground. While lying on the ground, he realizes that "Beatty wanted to die." (Bradbury 116) Montag believes Captain Beatty wanted to die because he just stood there and dared Montag to shoot him. Montag finds it strange that Beatty would make fun of an armed man and continue making derogatory comments towards him, instead of keeping his mouth shut and trying to escape the situation. Montag's belief that Beatty wanted to die goes deeper into understanding the psychology of Captain Beatty. Captian Beatty was a "walking contradiction" and Montag knew it. Beatty was well-read and educated, yet was the foremost opponent of the literary movement. Beatty more than likely was struggling with deep-seeded, internal issues that dealt with literature and living in a censored society. Such conflicting traits can manifest into irrational life decisions, like the one Captain Beatty made in front of Montag. Bradbury does not explicitly state whether or not Beatty actually wanted to die, but his conflicting personality traits and irrational decision making suggests he may have had a death wish.