Dead Poets Society is the amazing 1989 drama directed by Peter Weir. It stars the amazing Robin Williams and some young actors like Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke who went on to make a mark in the industry over the years. Ethan mentions that Robin would tease him a lot on the sets for his method acting. But eventually Robin put him on to his agent because he saw so much promise in Ethan. Dead Poets Society is a brilliant movie and leaves us with so many important messages and in this article we’ll discuss a few of those.
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The main message of the film Dead Poets Society
A movie is a great medium to educate people. It can be used to change people’s minds and revolutionize society. The Dead Poets Society is a similar attempt. It talks about so many important features of human life and education. Here are some major themes that you can clearly see in the movie.
The most significant theme of the movie is ‘carpe diem’. It is the phrase that professor Keating uses in his first lecture. This phrase means’ seize the day’ and it shows the unorthodox teaching approach of the professor. The movie highlights the importance that you only live once and you should live on your own terms. Professor tells his students how they should make their efforts around their real goals and not. This theme is the source of many other themes in the movie.
The discipline of the Welton is also a recurring theme in the movie. You see the strict rules of college and how students are trying to find loopholes. It also shows the lapse of discipline that does not make students disciplined but forces them to take other ways. The rebirth of ‘Dead Poets Society’ is a clear reference to that. Young students love to have their safe space, which is the secret society.
The movie revolves around a college and how education is being done there. It focuses on the pressures students have to perform well and be something. How traditional education sometimes plays a role in ruining the dreams of everyone. Neil is shown to be a student who wants to be an actor but is forced to educate in completely different subjects. The stress he is going through is the pressure conventional education is putting on different students. It is a very true depiction of the real-life struggles of students.
The movie also depicts that more strictness can lead to rebelliousness from the receiver. The foundation of the Dead Poets Society is a clear indication of that. It has shown the hesitation of a few students but then completing the idea because of the breathing they will have. The Dead Poets Society gives students a place to have where they can voice their side of the story. It is also clear as day that suppression leads to movements.
Identity is another important theme that the movie is dealing with. The dilemma of every young person. There is no choice in individuality or convention but it is still a constant war inside a human. Professor Keating’s open approach to individuality gives hope to the students. They can share what they want to be instead of what society and their parents want them to be. Neil Perry’s show of interest in acting is a result of that.
The suicide of Neil Perry does shake the whole campus. However, the pressures that come with the death of Perry are bigger. Students who are on the weak side of the hierarchy have to betray their dead friend by signing against Keating. It also depicts that death could have other impacts too and students could be rebellious. The pressure from loved ones prevented them from going that way.
Right to Choose
The students not having the right to choose for themselves and its consequences can be seen. Small rebellions and especially the suicide of Neil Perry are a shocker to everyone. He was denied his freedom of choice and the results were dramatic but it is also shown how most of the people just comply. They let go of their right to choose to avoid the complications. It is also a reminder that seizing the day is not as easy done as said.
The final betrayal of Cameron that forces everyone to sign a paper against professor Keaton. It is also a show of opportunist behaviors that shows how someone can let everyone down just to save himself. These are all common human behaviors that are seen in daily life. People who do it are ordinary people and sometimes scared of the consequences of not complying with the powerful.
Ray of Hope
After Keating loses his job and comes to class to collect his belongings, students pay their respect in front of the headmaster. It shows that students are on the weak side and succumbed to pressures but the future would be different. The time would change. It is heartbreaking to see when Keating says he believes his students and leaves the classroom.
Final Thoughts on Dead Poets Society
We just saw that one movie has multiple directions. You can see so many angles of a story. The connection of everything to each other and how one action leads to another. All of these things make a moving piece of art. The Dead Poets Society has a special place in literature because of its detailed analysis of real-life dilemmas and problems. The themes moving through the movie are simple yet have a lot of impacts. All the behaviors shown by each character are very realistic. If you look around yourself, you will find at least one person with one character trait.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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