In Fahrenheit 451, do you think Beatty wanted to die, like Montag believed?

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It is definitely possible to argue this issue from both angles. Firstly, as Montag himself realises, it is possible to say that Beatty wanted to die. The way he is able to quote from so many books and yet spends his life burning them and attempting to destroy them points towards some deep inner inconsistency that, it could be argued, meant that he as a character experienced massive internal conflict. This is something that Montag realises after he has killed Beatty, and reflects on his character and how he acted in his last few moments:

He had just stood there, not really trying to save himself, just stood there, joking, needling, thought Montag, and the thought was enough to stifle his sobbing and let him pause for air.

Such a realisation is based on the way in which Beatty was a character torn in two by internal conflict, and how in Montag he was able to find an escape from that conflict. Beatty wanted to die, it is possible to argue, through the way in which he actively sought out an opportunity to get himself killed and then dared Montag to do it in a very challenging way.

However, at the same time, there is enough evidence in the text to suggest that Beatty definitely did not want to die, and that he never thought Montag would go through with it and kill him. Note, for example, the way in which Beatty's eyes "widened the faintest bit" when he saw Montag's fingers twitch the safety catch on the flame thrower. This, combined with the way in which Beatty has always been successful before in facing down Montag in discussion, could lead the reader to believe that there was no way in which Beatty actually wanted to die: he had every belief that Montag would back down when challenged openly like he had backed down before whilst in the fire station. Even when Montag thinks that Beatty wanted to die, he concludes that it is "strange," suggesting perhaps that Montag's revelation is more to do with assuaging his own guilt than anything else.

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In Fahrenheit 451, did Beatty want Montag to kill him in the third part?

As others have commented, after turning on Beatty and killing him with fire, Beatty's own weapon of destruction, Montag concludes that "Beatty wanted to die," because at such a dangerous moment he kept on "needling" people and "yelling" at them. Beatty did not try to get out of harm's way.

Yet I have often questioned this. It seems more a rationale Montag came up with to justify his act. Beatty is a bold character who has risen to command through his courage, intelligence, and adeptness at psychology. He is astute in figuring out Montag's attraction to books and uses psychology to try to dissuade him, such as by identifying with going through a stage of wanting to read the forbidden fruit they constantly destroy. It may be that Beatty wanted to die so much as that his bold, confrontational technique for once didn't work.

Is it more that Montag had to kill Beatty, the father figure, to finally be free? This is debatable but a possibility worth considering as we interpret the text. After all, this explanation comes from Montag. These are not Beatty's words.

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In Fahrenheit 451, did Beatty want Montag to kill him in the third part?

While one could make an argument for or against Captain Beatty having wanted Montag to kill him, one can infer that Montag's assessment is correct when he says, "Beatty wanted to die" (Bradbury, 57). Captain Beatty is a rather enigmatic character. He is extremely well-read, yet he enthusiastically supports censoring literature. In an earlier discussion between Captain Beatty and Montag, Beatty tells Montag,

Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide, rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won't be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I've tried it; to hell with it. (Bradbury, 29)

This comment is significant because it indicates that Captain Beatty once searched for knowledge, but he was not able to find the specific answers he was looking for in life. Beatty became jaded with intellectual pursuits before deciding to fully support the fireman structure. Essentially, Captain Beatty both admires and despises literature. This disconnect in his character could explain Montag's reasoning, which is that Beatty wanted to die. One can infer that because Beatty was unsuccessful in finding answers for his own life, Beatty no longer wants to live, because he believes he will never fully comprehend the universe.

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In Fahrenheit 451, did Beatty want Montag to kill him in the third part?

That is what the book says.  Montag, thinking back, realizes, "Beatty had wanted to die.  He had just stood there, not really trying to save himself,...joking, needling, ...yelling at people and making fun of them."  Montag feels that Beatty was egging him on, oddly wanting him to throw the flames at him and end his life.

It seems odd though; Beatty, such an intense character who avidly promoted his society's ideals, had been miserable?  It is only after we learn that Beatty had wanted to die that we can look back and see some of the hints and clues that he left.  He told Montag that he had read, suffered an identity crisis, wanted to blow up the world or stage revolutions.  He was highly read, highly informed, and had returned to being a fire chief.  So he had the background of a potential revolutionary, but instead turned his hatred on others who had been like him; perhaps this hypocrisy, and the true knowledge of the emptiness of their society had gotten to him in the end.

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In Fahrenheit 451, why did Montag think that Beatty wanted to die?

At the beginning of part 3 of the dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Captain Beatty takes the protagonist, Montag, to Montag's own house and orders him to burn it down. Montag has been hiding books and reading, and Beatty judges that Montag has gone too far when he reads poetry to his wife and her friends. Montag obeys Beatty's order and sets fire to his house. However, after his house is burned and fallen in, Beatty continues to taunt him. When he finds the earpiece that Faber has been using to communicate with Montag, Beatty says that he will track Faber down and arrest him too. That is the point at which Montag turns the flamethrower on Beatty and burns him to death.

Once Beatty is dead and he has knocked out the other two firemen on the scene and destroyed the mechanical hound, Montag comes to an abrupt realization that Beatty wanted to die.

In the middle of the crying Montag knew it for the truth. Beatty had wanted to die. He had just stood there, not really trying to save himself, just stood there, joking, needling, thought Montag ...

Bradbury does not explain why Montag thinks that Beatty wanted to die. It is not expressed by the author as a definitive fact, but rather as an abrupt realization that Montag comes to. However, if we see it from Montag's point of view, we understand that Montag's life has been completely changed by the books that he has come to read and cherish. He has rebelled against his former life of conformity to the system and has allowed the thoughts he has discovered in books to change his entire way of thinking.

Beatty, too, confessed that he read many books. He made a decision to go in the opposite direction, though. Instead of yielding to the insight that books imparted, he clung to the system that destroyed them. This made Beatty torn between the freedom of thought represented by books and the bondage of ignorance represented by destroying them. His hypocrisy must have torn him apart. He must have longed for death because he could not reconcile what he read in books with the sordid life he was living.

It is also important to consider that when Montag has this realization about Beatty, he has just committed murder. It's possible that believing Beatty longed for death is also self-justification for killing his former boss.

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In Fahrenheit 451, why did Montag think that Beatty wanted to die?

In Part Three, Captain Beatty attempts to arrest Montag after forcing him to burn his home and book collection. Before Captain Beatty can arrest Montag, Montag aims his flamethrower at him and threatens to kill him. Instead of cautiously attempting to quell the situation and allow Montag to run free, Captain Beatty continues to badger and irritate Montag. Captain Beatty encourages Montag to pull the trigger as he quotes Shakespeare and criticizes the literary world. When Montag can no longer take Captain Beatty's comments and presence, he pulls the trigger and kills him. Shortly after Montag kills Captain Beatty, he thinks to himself that Beatty actually wanted to die. Montag thinks to himself,

Beatty had wanted to die. He had just stood there, not really trying to save himself, just stood there, joking, needling, thought Montag, and the thought was enough to stifle his sobbing and let him pause for air. How strange, strange, to want to die so much that you let a man walk around armed and then instead of shutting up and staying alive, you go on yelling at people and making fun of them until you get them mad, and then.... (Bradbury, 57).

Montag believes that Captain Beatty wanted to die, because he continued to provoke him despite the fact that he was armed and dangerous. Captain Beatty's refusal to walk away or back down influence Montag's belief that he wanted to die. Beatty's willingness to die reflects the destructive nature of their dystopian society, where people commit suicide everyday and are sick of living mundane, meaningless lives. Beatty's love for literature, his failure to comprehend the universe, and the destructive nature of his job affect his decision to provoke Montag in Part Three.

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In Fahrenheit 451, why did Montag think that Beatty wanted to die?

Beatty wanted to die because he felt that life was not worth living.  In Montag’s world, people committed suicide constantly.  Beatty was more intelligent and more aware than most.  He knew that the world was pointless.  He had read the books. He taunted Montag with them.  He knew what was happening, and did not try to stop it.  When Mildred called an alarm in on Montag, Beatty took a kind of sadistic glee in it.  He did not try to evade Montag when he turned on Beatty.

Although Montag was broken up about turning his flamethrower on Beatty and killing him, he realized that Beatty had wanted to die, just like everyone else.  This is why he did not try to stop Montag.

Beatty had wanted to die. He had just stood there, not really trying to save himself, just stood there, joking, needling … How strange, strange, to want to die so much that you let a man walk around armed and then instead of shutting up and staying alive, you go on yelling at people and making fun of them until you get them mad, and then .... (Part III) 

Knowing that Beatty had wanted to die and had goaded him does not make Montag feel much better.  He never wanted to kill a man.  Montag feels that there is more to life.  He reacts differently to the emptiness than the people who commit suicide.  He decides to seek out the book people and find out what more the world has to offer. (He has to outrun the Mechanical Hound first.)  He makes it just in time, because just after he gets out his city is bombed.

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In Fahrenheit 451, did Beatty want Montag to kill him?

It is suggested that Beatty wanted to die; however, it is also possible to argue that he did not, and because the text is ambiguous, we cannot know for certain.

Beatty is introduced to us as a representative of government power, via his position as Montag's boss and a keenly perceptive and dangerous executor of his duties. We gradually learn more about Beatty, and he becomes more of a dark counterpart or "evil twin" to Montag. He has not only been through the doubts and existential crisis that Montag is experiencing, but he emerged hungry for the simple pleasures that society offers, in order to ward off the dead-end of emptiness that he found in contemplating the universe. He is also well-read, but finds the destruction of books to be a worthwhile price to pay for the stability of society, despite this compromising his morality. In essence, he is who Montag could become, should he fail to see his actions through to their conclusions.

Beatty's actual death is ambivalent; his failing to stop Montag could be perceived either as a quietly satisfied ending to his suffering, or as calling Montag's bluff and losing. Likewise, the twitching of Beatty's eye could simply be the expression of Beatty's inner conflict; the human body wants to live, but Beatty does not. Ultimately the only clear statement on Beatty's intention actually comes from Montag himself:

Beatty wanted to die.
In the middle of the crying Montag knew it for the truth. Beatty had wanted to die.

This is not a clear answer to our initial question, because it is an exploration of Montag's thoughts, not the statement of an omnipotent narrator or a piece of empirical evidence. This could very easily be Montag justifying Beatty's death to himself. The aftermath of the murder clearly hits Montag hard, and he may be doing everything he can to keep functioning, particularly since his own life is still at stake.

Thus, we can say that, while the text says that Beatty wanted to die, it is not necessarily a fact that he did.

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