Fahrenheit 451

Connections between Greek mythology and modern literature.


In the Greek myth Perseus, the hero slays the evil ruler, Polydectes. In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag kills the horrible fire captain, Beatty.

Archetypal Hero Traits: Traumatic Event

Montag meets Clarisse at the beginning of the book, and she shows him that there's more to life than burning books. When she is killed, Montag realizes how cruel the world is, and this event empowers him to go against what is expected of him.

The Cyclops Polyphemus

In the myth Polyphemus, the cyclops devours some of the sailors before they realize what is happening in the cave. The firemen in Fahrenheit 451 are similar to Polyphemus, but they are destroying books, thinkers, and intellects rather than sailors. The firemen burn books and kill/imprison those individuals that own and hide the books, much like how Polyphemus eats the sailors. Only the sailors clever enough to plan an escape and attempt to get out of the cave survive, and in Fahrenheit 451 only the intellects willing to try to run and stand up for themselves can live in peace.


Narcissus is obsessed with his reflection and is oblivious to the world around him in the myth. In Fahrenheit 451, Mildred lives her life through "the walls" (the TV) and it's all she can talk about or do (as well as listen to her seashells). She has become cold and uncaring towards the real world, and resembles Narcissus because of this. In the Greek myth, Echo is trying to tell Narcissus she loves him, but is unable to talk to tell him. Montag, in Fahrenheit 451, is trying to wake Mildred up to the rest of the world, but she refuses to accept reality. She doesn't care about Clarisse, turns in the books, and more. No matter how much Montag talks at her, Mildred won't listen.

Archetypal Hero Traits: Spiritual Help

Throughout his rebellion, Montag receives hep from Faber, an old English professor who is now in hiding. Faber is not a god, but he is a unique individual that is providing Montag with the help he needs to survive.

Archetypal Hero Traits: Journey

An archetypal hero goes on a journey to an underworld or hell-like area (which can be psychological). Montag goes into his psychological underworld after Clarisse's death, where he begins to question everything in his life. He seems to be the only person to be dealing with these negative feelings towads the world around him, until he begins working with Faber and he meets the professors on the railroad.


Fahrenheit 451 Characters by olfoster