Friday, March 1, 2013

In Fahrenheit 451, an allusion to Daedalus and Icarus is made. When the firemen go to Montags house to burn it down, Beatty starts yelling at Montag. The first thing he says is, "Well, now you did it. Old Montag wanted to fly near the sun and now that he's burnt his damn wings, he wonders why," (Bradbury, 1953) Beatty is referring to Montag as Icarus, son of master craftsman Daedalus. In the story, Daedalus builds his son wings so that he may escape a Cretan prison. However, Icarus flies to close to the sun, and his wings melt, and he falls into the sea below, drowning.

In Fahrenheit 451, Montag flies to close to the sun when he tries to read books. His ambitions are too great, and society does not let him do this. I also thought it was interesting that Beatty said his wings burnt, not melted. I thought this was because books were Montag's wings, as they were previously described as birds in the book, and they were literally burned shortly after this encounter. Another thing I noticed was that Beatty was giving so much power to society in referencing this work. Society had the power to strike someone down if they did not approve of what he or she did, and society abused this power.

I also thought it was ironic that Beatty was making an allusion to a book when yelling at Montag for keeping books. At an earlier point in the story, Beatty mentioned that he had kept a book for 24 hours. He said that nothing was written in them. However, I think he did learn from them. I think he remembered reading Daedalus and Icarus, and it may have moved him, possibly even to destroy his books so he wouldn't get caught. In this sense, Beatty is very similar to Montag, however, he does not share as much devotion as Montag does to learning.

"The Fall of Icarus" located in the Musée Antoine Vivenel


  1. Loved your second paragraph with those connections - be sure to share these ideas in class on Tuesday!!

  2. I'm going have to have a civil discourse about what you said about Beatty's aptitude for learning in the last paragraph. I believe that Beatty had just the same love for books as Montag did, but he had to hide it as he was the Captain of a firestation. If you notice throughout the book, Beatty makes many literary references, especially when he was giving the speech to Montag about how books are useless. On top of that, I think that this makes him want to die, as the knowledge makes him question his life, and his decision to be a fire man. This is why he doesn't fight back much when Montag turned the fire hose on him. I think that this is why Beatty takes the stance that books make people unhappy, and also I think that Beatty is equal to Montag in intelligence.