The Strength of Beatty

The book, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, demonstrates how certain people's opinions can

influence an issue -- in this case, the burning of books. Captain Beatty had the greatest influence on public

opinion regarding this issue. Beatty illustrates the ability to confuse and to make a person insane, he can

control a community of people, and he can frighten people. Beatty is, clearly, the strongest character in the

book Fahrenheit 451.

One of his influential talents is Beatty's ability to confuse in his arguments. He used this ability to

weaken Montag. He once said, "So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the

shot from the weapon. Breach mean's mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?

Me? I won't stomach them for a minute." (Pg. 62) These short phrases are bewildering, because they have

a very unclear meaning. He also said, "And you shrieked, 'Knowledge is power!' and 'A dwarf on a giant's

shoulders sees the farthest of the two!' and I summed my side up with rare serenity in, 'The folly of a

mistaking a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself as an

oracle, is inborn is us, Mr. Valery once said.'" (Pg. 116) This confused Montag to the point that he almost

disclosed his passion for reading books.

Beatty has mastered the skill of holding people under his power. Beatty, himself, said,

"Knowledge is more than equivalent to force." (Pg. 116) He additionally declared, "I don't think you realize

how important we are to our world as it stands now." (Pg. 66) He takes his position to rule the people. By

depriving people of books he striped the residents of knowledge and therefore withdrew their power.

One of the ways that Beatty controls is with fright. He is very proficient at using fear for control.

During his speech he said, "What if a fireman accidentally, really not intending anything, takes a book

home with him?" When hearing this, Montag stirred with fright. "We're book burners, too. We burnt

books, afraid they'd be found."(Pg. 164) The firemen will not only find the books, but also send the

offenders to jail. This gave Beatty significant power.

Beatty is the strongest character in Fahrenheit 451. He has the ability to confuse, to gain control,

and to frighten. Despite being the bad guy, Beatty is a very influential and powerful character. His

opinions significantly shape the characters and actions of the book.