Following In Our Parents Footsteps
Have you always listened to what your parents wanted you to do? If you are like me and probably ninety percent of all other teenagers in America, then you most likely have gone against what your parents have told you to do at least once. In Dead Poets Society directed by Peter Weir the boys that the movie follows have parents who all want them to be exactly what they are or better. These parents have the boys lives all figured out, but have never once asked the boys what they want to do. One boy, Neil Perry (played by Robert Sean Leonard), has a father who is pushing him to become a doctor, and won’t allow him to do extra-curricular activities. Then these boys meet professor Keating (Robin Williams), and he teaches them that they need to be themselves and do what they want with their lives. “Carpe Diem” this means “seize the day” in Latin, and Keating tells the boys that they need to follow this motto for their lives. The boys then find out about the Dead Poets Society that Keating was a part of when he went to school, and they start it back up again. They start to have their own thoughts and take their lives into their own hands for the first time ever. This eventually gets Neil to audition for a play against his father’s wishes. He gets the part, and informs his father about the play. At first his dad was just mad and said that he wasn’t going to be able to show up for the play, so Neil thought that everything was going to be ok. After the play Neil’s father showed up and took him home after being very upset with Professor Keating for telling his son to follow his dreams no matter what. That night when Neil was at home with his parents took his father’s gun, and he killed himself because of the way that his father treats him, and because he could never do anything that he wanted. The death of Neil was then placed onto the shoulders of Keating, and he was fired for telling the boys to “disobey” what their parents told them. At the very end when Keating is leaving his classroom for the very last time, all the boys that stood with Keating, and didn’t believe that it was his fault stood up on their desks and said the phrase “Oh Captain, My Captain”.
I believe that the overlaying theme of being true to yourself really shows in this movie for many different reasons. The biggest thing with this that you can see through the whole movie is with Neil, because of all the different things that he did against his father’s wishes. Also, you can see it in many of the other boys as well. Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) is under is older brother’s shadow throughout the whole movie because his brother graduated from the same school as the valedictorian. Todd wants to do his own thing and become his own person and be someone to his parents. You can really see that his parents don’t care what he wants when they send him a birthday present of a desk set, after they got him the same thing the year before and he didn’t even like it. All the boys have some sort of issue that they have to overcome to become their own person by the end of the movie, and you can see their real colors.