Dead Poets Society - The Message of the Dead Poets Essay

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Dead Poets Society - The Message of the Dead Poets

Teachers are wonderful heroes. In the movie, Dead Poets Society the teacher/hero is John Keating, played magnificently by Robin Williams. The film takes place at a small preparatory boys' school (Welton Academy) in the late 1950's. The story follows the lives of a group of students and the way that Mr. Keating's teachings influence them. He encourages the boys to become freethinkers and to live life for the moment. The message hallowed by Keating is one of mortality--do not waste your life, for you will get no other, and when you are "food for worms" will the world have been a better place because you were in it? This message is prevalent throughout the film.

Keating
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Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary!" (3). Sadly, it is Keating's dogmatic charisma that proves to be his undoing as "the drama races from high comedy to heartbreak to tragedy" (3). His "live life for the moment" attitude leads the boys to a sorrowful fate and in the end Keating is sacrificed by the school for the good of the boys. One can only wonder if the director, Peter Weir, was trying to emulate the sacrifice that Christ made for his followers. If this is not the case, certain symbolism found in the architecture cannot be missed.

The architecture of Welton Academy appears gothic and reminiscent of old England. Perhaps this led Georgia Brown, a columnist for Village Voice, to remark that, "Weir's conspicuous moonstruck silhouettes make the boys look like Druids" (59). The buildings and grounds do not characterize a modern day institution of learning. Welton Academy is more like a prison than a school, and this comparison is evident in the drab uniforms worn by the students, which Georgia Brown describes as "charcoal-gray flannels, gray sweaters and, [sic] for outside, hooded duffle [sic] coats" (59). The addition of prisoner identification numbers would complement the ensemble very well. The school is the ideal place for forcing

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