Fahrenheit 451 Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 book cover
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What is the significance to "Play the man, ...Ridley..." ? in Part 1 of Fahrenheit 451

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The significance of the "Play the man" quote is that it was a phrase spoken by a man who was being burned for heresy in England hundreds of years ago. The full quote says something like that the two of them will set up a flame that will light England forever.  What he means is that he wants his death to be an example for everyone else in the society.

This makes sense in the context in which it appears in this book.  The words are spoken by the old woman as she sets herself on fire.  By killing herself, she does, in fact, set an example for Montag.  She makes him think about his society and work to change it.

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