Montag's boss at the fire station. Beatty is a complex character. He has committed to memory many passages of classic literature, and can quote them at will, yet as a fire captain he is devoted to the destruction of intellectual pursuits, artistic efforts, and individual thought. Bradbury uses Beatty to explain how mid-20th-century America becomes the joy-seeking, irresponsible, unemotional, and intellectually repressive future world depicted in Fahrenheit 451. Beatty claims he, like Montag, once became interested in books, but he now endorses instant gratification. Yet Beatty uses his extensive learning to push Montag past the breaking point and goad Montag into killing him. After Montag kills Beatty, Montag becomes convinced that Beatty actually wanted to die (though it's never clear if this is true). Beatty is an intellectual wearing the uniform of the intellectual's worst enemy. Perhaps the contradiction is too much for him in the end.
The Fahrenheit 451 quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Beatty or refer to Captain Beatty. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Fahrenheit 451 published in 2013.).
Part 1 Quotes
"Speed up the film, Montag, quick... Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline!... Whirl man's mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!"
"Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don't step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that!... Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did."
"We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon."
"Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean."
"The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we're the Happiness Boys... you and I and the others. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought. We have our fingers in the dike. Hold steady. Don't let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world."
"At least once in his career, every fireman gets an itch. What do the books say, he wonders. Oh, to scratch that itch, eh?"
Part 3 Quotes
"What is it about fire that's so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?... It's perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did. Or almost perpetual motion. If you let it go on, it'd burn our lifetimes out."
"Now, Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical."
The timeline below shows where the character Captain Beatty appears in Fahrenheit 451. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...the background reports that war may be declared at any moment. Montag, meanwhile, feels that Beatty can sense his guilt. He says he's been thinking about the man whose library they... (full context)
...that they should give themselves 48 hours to look at the books, and if what Captain Beatty says is true—that books are meaningless—then they'll burn the books together. Montag wants to... (full context)