Guy Montag

Guy Montag is a fictional character and the protagonist in Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451. He is depicted living in a futuristic town where he works as a "fireman" whose job is to burn books and the buildings they are found in.

Role in plot

At the opening of the novel, he is happy in his work destroying books and never wonders about his role as a tool of thought suppression. Several events cause him to question his own existence:
as Guy Montag, from the 2018 adaptation.
Over the course of the novel, Montag becomes increasingly disillusioned with the hedonistic, anti-intellectual society around him. Bradbury emphasizes that the U.S. government, in burning books, is merely expressing the will of a people whose short attention spans, indifference, and hedonism have gradually eroded any semblance of intellectualism from public life. Schools no longer teach the humanities, children are casually violent, and adults are constantly distracted by "seashells" and insipid television programs displayed on wall-sized screens. Authors and readers are regarded as pretentious and dangerous to the well-being of society. He meets many characters that change his outlook on life such as Clarisse and Faber.
After an incident where Montag tries to read a poem to his wife's friends when they are visiting, his wife denounces their house as book-possessing. Montag's fire chief, Beatty, tries to persuade him that books are evil, and urges him to return to the unthinking fireman mentality, but Montag refuses.
After the firehouse receives an alert, Beatty drives the fire truck to the location, which is Montag's house. Beatty forces Montag to set fire to his own house. After Montag is finished, Beatty confronts Montag and discovers the device he uses to communicate with Faber. After Beatty vows to track down who was on the other line, Montag turns the fire hose on Beatty and burns him to death.
He flees through the city streets to Faber's house, with another firehouse's mechanical hound and television network helicopters in hot pursuit. When he arrives at Faber's home, the old man tells Montag of vagabond book-lovers in the countryside. Montag then escapes to a local river, floats downstream and meets a group of older men who, to Montag's astonishment, have memorized entire books, preserving them orally until the law against books is overturned. The war begins. Montag watches helplessly as jet bombers fly overhead and attack the city with nuclear weapons.

In other media

Montag's fate is expanded on in the semi-canonical 1984 video game Fahrenheit 451, which acts as a sequel to the novel. In the game, Montag has continued to evade and resist the Firemen for over five years after the end of the novel and is sent on a mission to break into New York Library and transmit its microcassette archive to the Underground. He succeeds and reunites with Clarisse during the process; however, the Firemen storm the building and immolate them both.

Historical notes