Essay on Fahrenheit 451, by ray Bradbury and Antigone, by Sophocles

Essay on Fahrenheit 451, by ray Bradbury and Antigone, by Sophocles

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Imagine living in a time where books have been banned and your only source of companionship was a screen on the wall. Or picture living in the city of Thebes, where you must risk execution by the king in order to give your dead brother the proper burial he deserves. These two scenarios precisely describe the worlds of Montag, from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Antigone, from Sophocles’ Antigone, respectively. Though the ways in which Antigone and Montag challenge their world’s status quo are very similar, the motives and consequences behind their actions are very different.
One way in which Montag and Antigone’s challenge the status quo similarly is that they both break the law. Montag breaks the law by reading books: “They read the long afternoon through…Montag …read a page as many as ten times, aloud” (pg. 71)). Antigone breaks the law by burying Polyneices against Creon’s orders:” Right away she spread thirsty dust with her hands, then poured the three libations from a vessel of fine bronze. And so she crowned the corpse with honor.”(429-431). Both characters commit illegal acts in order to challenge the current state of affairs. Another similarity is that both Montag and Antigone contradict their established roles. As a fireman, Montag’s job is to burn books and, more importantly, relish in the destruction of knowledge. While this may sound fairly simple, committing to this duty becomes increasingly more difficult as events unfold and Montag grows unsatisfied and conflicted towards his job: “I’m so damned unhappy, I’m so mad, and I don’t even know why…I might even start reading books” (pg. 64). His contempt towards book-burning profession grow so great that he’s willing to do the number one unspeakable rule of every fire...


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...ide: “She was there, we saw her hanging by the neck on a noose…” (1220-1221). Montag, in stark contrast, does not perish for defying the status quo. His consequence for challenging status quo are not has severe and fatal. In fact, Montag is miraculously alive by the end of the story, having escaped the Hound, the State, and even the bombs dropped down by war. Clearly, the fates of these two characters are different.
The characters Montag and Antigone, from Fahrenheit 451 and Antigone respectively, own many similarities in the ways they handle status quo. They both break the law and defy social expectations. At the same time, however, the characters have many differences. Their motives, fates, and specific course of action vary greatly. Montag and Antigone are two very remarkable characters whose quest for change teaches readers to go above and beyond social norms.

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