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Harper Lee

He is an enigmatic figure with the Freudian complex of obsessively hating something (i.e., books). The obsession is so pronounced and irrational that one cannot but believe that Beatty is transplanting his fear and negative past experiences onto books as a means of avoiding having to deal with the problem. Something must have happened to Beatty in the past, something so traumatic that rather than facing it, Captain Beatty transfers his pain and guilt to an external object, thereby shifting the burden of guilt onto books and, more broadly, intellectualism.

Beatty, in some ways, is as complex and human as Montag. He seems to be a conflicted figure. Intelligent he certainly is, as well as acquainted with books. We see this from his argument about the duplicity of literature. He seems to enjoy arguing and could have become a professor or philosopher in a more classical age. Instead, he directs his talents toward prohibiting reflection, contemplation, and education, and makes book burning his lifelong crusade. On the other hand, Beatty does little to save his life. He seems to be tormented and anguished to the end, thus troubling Montag:

Beatty wanted to die… How strange, strange, to want to die so much that you let a man walk around armed and then instead of shutting up and staying alive, you go on yelling at people and making fun of them until you get them mad (122)

Clearly, the captain was a truly Freudian misanthropist.

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