“Seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary” is the sentiment new teacher Mr. Keating leaves with his students after the first day of class at Welton Academy (Weir). Mr. Keating teaches in an unorthodox manner, evident on the first day of class when catching the boys off guard by calling the introduction of their poetry textbook “excrement,” and instructing the boys to rip that section out of their book (Weir). His unique style of teaching forces the boys, who face immense pressures from their parents to excel, to think on their own. Using this idea of living for today, a group of boys reestablish the Dead Poet’s Society, which Mr. Keating describes as “dedicated to sucking the marrow out of life” by reading verses of famous poetry (Weir). This live-for-today mentality extends to the way in which these boys make choices in their personal lives. Mr. Keating presents this message of Carpe Diem to the boys because the young boys “believe they’re destined for great things,” but many people wait until it is too late to “make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable” (Weir). So, he is telling the boys to seize opportunities in life to become successful, before they are “fertilizing daffodils” (Weir). In Peter Weir’s film Dead Poet’s Society, Carpe Diem is the most influential lesson taught to the boys by Mr. Keating.
The first boy heavily influenced by the teaching of Carpe Diem is Knox Overstreet, who is inspired to try to develop a relationship with Chris Noel. Knox, after meeting Chris, portrays her to his friends as “the most beautiful girl in [his] entire life” and cannot ignore his feelings for her (Weir). When Knox can no longer withhold his affection, he decides that he is going to ca...
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.... You 're going to Harvard and you 're gonna be a doctor” (Weir). Desperately, Neil tries to tell his father what he believes, but Mr. Perry shuts down his argument by saying, “Is it more of this, this acting business? Because you can forget that” (Weir). To combat his father’s decisions, Neil commits suicide, and by doing this he is acting with the feelings of today, without thinking of tomorrow. Cameron, another member of the Dead Poet’s Society, explains that Neil uses Carpe Diem to make his decision because “If it wasn 't for Mr. Keating” and his lessons of Carpe Diem and sucking the marrow out of life “Neil would be cozied up in his room right now, studying his chemistry and dreaming of being called doctor” (Weir). Mr. Keating’s lesson of Carpe Diem effects Neil’s life in many drastic ways because it causes him to pursue what he wants and to make hasty decisions.
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