In Fahrenheit 451, why does Beatty taunt Montag?

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Beatty taunts Montag after an alarm is called in on his own house.  Montag suspects that his wife has called in the alarm, his boss, Beatty instructs him to burn his own house.  He warns him that the mechanical hound is after him and that if he tries to escape the hound will catch him.

"Captain Beatty baits and teases Montag until Montag burns his own house down. All this time, Faber has been trying to help Montag by whispering in his ear, but now Beatty discovers the ear-radio and takes it away."

Beatty has vast literary knowledge and teases and taunts Montag with quotes that he has memorized, angering the fireman even more. Beatty sums up their society's desire for destruction and the sanitizing of the human spirit through the use of fire to burn all books, which are considered dangerous, to make everyone equal with these words:

"It's perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did. . . . It's a mystery. . . . Its real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences . . . clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical." (Bradbury)

Until, Montag, in his new found passion for books, knowledge and the way life was before the fireman became destroyers instead of rescuers, turns his flamethrower on Beatty and kills him.

 

 

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In Fahrenheit 451, why did Captain Beatty go to Montag's house?

Beatty visits Montag's house on two occasions.

The first visit operates as a warning to Montag; Beatty seems to know that Montag is having a breakdown, which he claims to recognize due to the number of questions that Montag has been asking and his growing sense of doubt. Beatty takes it upon himself to explain the history of firemen and indicate why books must be burned. Beatty insinuates that he knows Montag is longing to read, and that this activity would be useless because books don't say anything of value. 

Unfortunately for Montag's home, Montag doesn't cease his pursuit of knowledge. Thus, when Beatty visits the house for the second time, he does so in order to arrest Montag and burn the house down. 

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In Fahrenheit 451, why did Captain Beatty go to Montag's house?

The first time Beatty visits, it is after Montag steals a book from the lady's house that they had burned the night before.  He sleeps in that next morning, and Beatty shows up.  The reason he gives is that he had guessed Montag was going through a crisis, and that "Every fireman, sooner or later, hits this...they only...need to know the history of our profession."  Montag had been asking a lot of questions lately, so Beatty showed up to explain why books had to be burned, and why Montag was performing a public service by doing so.  He gives a long lecture that all boils down to the fact that "People want to be happy".  He then alludes to the fact that all fireman want to read one at some point; that Montag shouldn't bother because they say "nothing", and if he did happen to read one, to return it in 24 hours. 

The subliminal message to Montag is that he had better shape up, get his act together, and get back to work.  It's a passive-aggressive way of saying, "I know what you're up to, and you had better stop."  Well, Montag doesn't, which prompts Beatty's second visit:  to torch the house and arrest Montag. 

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In Fahrenheit 451, why does Guy Montag burn Captain Beatty?

Montag burns Captain Beatty because Beatty knows that he has been hoarding books and shows up to burn his house and threatens Faber.

After Mildred turns Montag in for having books, Beatty tries to makes him take a flamethrower to his own house. Beatty goads him and Montag knows he will be arrested. The worst part is when he threatens Faber.

"Well--so there's more here than I thought. I saw you tilt your head, listening. First I thought you had a Seashell. But when you turned clever later, I wondered. We'll trace this and drop it on your friend." (Part III)

Montag is frustrated with Beatty, and terrified. He is also worried about the Hound, and knows that his life and Faber’s is in danger. There is no way that Beatty is going to let him go. Beatty is smart, and paradoxically quotes from books constantly in order to goad Montag. He quotes books in order to convince Montag that books are worthless. Even now, at the end, he quotes Shakespeare while disparaging him.

Beatty is no ordinary fireman. He has clearly read the books he burns, or he would not know so much about them. Whether or not Montag realizes this, he attacks Beatty with the flamethrower in self-defense, in fear, and in reflex. He is holding a flamethrower, and Beatty is a threat. Montag did not plan this.

Thinking back later he could never decide whether the hands or Beatty's reaction to the hands gave him the final push toward murder. (Part III)

In the end, Montag has to run after this incident. He decides to take off toward Faber and the book people. He is on his own, since his wife has betrayed him and his life as his knew it is over. He also has realized that the society he has known is not the one he wants to be a part of, and he wants to begin fresh in another one. He will get that chance, as the old one destroys itself. He got out just in time.

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In Fahrenheit 451, after Captain Beatty visited Montag at his home, what decision finalized in Montag's mind?

Montag is even more confused after Beatty leaves.  He is restless and pacing, and tells Millie,

"I don't know what it is.  I'm so damned unhappy, I'm so mad and I don't know why...I might even start reading books...I'm going to do something big."

So, he has an anxious feeling; he is unhappy and wants to do something about it, but isn't sure what yet.  He gets down all of the books that he had hidden and decides to start there.  He says, "I want to look at them, at least look at them once."  He decides to break the law, to fly in the face of what Beatty has said about books being useless, and read.  He hopes that books will help him to figure out "just one little thing out of a whole mess of things".  So, he spends the entire next day reading.  He takes Beatty up on his subtle offer to let him read for 24 hours, and tries to pack in as much reading as he can.  Unfortunately, Millie is a bit stubborn, whiney and reluctant as he tries to drag her into it, and he gets so frustrated with her and her friends that he leaves to find Faber.  Faber has what he is looking for though, and together they do indeed plan something big:  outright rebellion against the law.  But it all started with Montag's decision to read being finalized after Beatty left his house.  I hope that helps; good luck!

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