The protagonist of ‘Fahrenheit 451’, Montag is employed as a fireman whose
task is to hunt down and burn books.
The firemen are used as instruments of suppression, and this extreme form of
censorship is designed to eliminate conflict within the society of the 24th century.
At the start of the book, Montag carries out his duties with zeal, but as
the story develops, we learn that he has become curious about the books he burns and has rescued some from the fire.
Inspired by Clarisse and Faber he decides to rebel against the doctrines of
the society, and he leaves the city to join other outcasts.
At the end of the book, Grainger helps him to accept that the destruction of
the city may lead to people and books flourishing again.
Mildred Montag (Millie)
Millie is totally immersed in a dream electronic world. Her home is
full of electronic gadgets, and although she has three TV walls, she plagues Montag, her husband, for a fourth.
She spends her daytime hours watching the screens, which enable her to commune with her television family. During her sleep-time, she has electronic bees or “seashell ear thimbles” in her ears, which block out thoughts and replace these with mindless entertainment.
Her shallow life brings her no happiness, and she also indulges in the use
of narcotics. Her friends are also of a similar nature, being bland and unintelligent.
Montag, at the end of the book, contemplates Millie’s life and realizes that
it achieved no purpose. She was unable to fulfill the roles of wife and mother.
The fire captain of the station where Montag works, Beatty is a shrewd and
ruthless individual. He is thus the antagonist of the story.
One might say that Beatty lived by the fire, and fatefully dies by the fire.
One of his main duties is to monitor the firemen in his station with a view
to spotting any nonconformists. Montag’s behavior arouses his suspicion and he gives the appropriate warning, which goes unheeded.
Being tempted himself, he is aware of the pressure that his men are under at times. His knowledge of literature is extensive, so he too has read the books that his fire company destroy.
The reader suspects that Beatty is unhappy and no longer obtains
satisfaction from the work he does. We suspect that he does not have the courage to terminate his own life, and his goading of Montag turns him into a murderer, and Beatty dies in a jet of liquid fire.
She is the Montags 17-year old new neighbor and is in stark contrast to
Millie, being curious, vibrant, and full of concern for other people. She inspires Montag to question his life and the work that he does. She initiates Montag’s metamorphosis. She is the initial
guiding factor and her work on Montag is continued by Faber and Grainger.
He is an elderly, retired English Professor who also has a flair for
electronics. He has invented a receiver/transmitter earpiece.
Scholars suggest that he is named after Peter Faber, a tutor of the 16th century and founder of two Jesuit Colleges.
Faber rebels against the society in which he lives, but only in a very
It is only when he meets Montag for the second time that he is able to emerge and is inspired to be an activist. With the electronic device, he forms a good alliance with Montag who becomes an extension of his own self.
He manages to escape the city before it is destroyed and presumably helps
rebuild the new world.
He is the leader of the outcasts that live in the countryside beyond the
city. He represents the foil for Captain Beatty. He too is adept at using technology, and he has means for defeating the Mechanical Hound, and bringing to the fore the power of the human mind. He
will help guide the survivors of the war towards the enlightened society.