Fahrenheit 451, By Ray Bradbury And Antigone, By Sophocles

836 words - 3 pages

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 fireman—read books. Montag’s growing inclination to read and waning interest to burn clearly contradict his supposed role as a fireman. Likewise, Antigone contradicts society’s gender role. As a female in ancient Greece, Antigone is expected to be subservient, submissive, and obedient to men. Anitgone clearly does not exhibit any these traits, for she not only defies Kiong Creon’s law on not burying Polyneices, but she also boldly tells Creon that “Your words disgust me..”(500) and you are a “disgrace”(573). Antigone is shown to be firm, independent, and stubborn, of all which are traits not faithful to the typical Theban woman. Antigone nor Montag follow the traditional set of values society expects from them.
As similar as Montag’s and Antigone’s challenging of the status quo are, distinct differences still...

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