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Movie “Dead Poets Society” by Peter Weir Term Paper

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Updated: Mar 27th, 2020

Dead poets society is a movie created in the US in 1989 with Peter Weir as the administrator and Robin Williams thrilling. The movie shows an English teacher inspiring students through poetry. Some of the senior learners in the academy are Charlie Dalton, Todd Anderson, Gerard Pitts, Knox Overstreet, Richard Cameron, Steven Meeks, and Neil Perry. The school headteacher claims the motto of the school is based on tradition, respect, discipline, and brilliance.

The new English teacher is referred to as John Keating, who is known for his new methods of giving instructions to students. The techniques are inconsistent with the school standards since whistling is allowed as an instructional technique. As the session goes on, the instructor requests the learners to get out of the classroom to familiarize themselves with the principle of carpe diem.

Students are surprised since they are not familiar with the new system, and the teacher recognizes their frustrations. The new trainer persuades students to call him O Captain or My Captain, which is the name of one of his poems.

In the subsequent lesson, the trainer instructs one of the learners by the name Neil to recite the preamble of the poetry manual. To the surprise of the new teachers, the textbook employs a mathematical formula to rate the performance of students. This does not auger down well with him to the extent of instructing the pupils to pluck out the page, which is indeed amazing to his colleagues.

In the same lesson, the teacher requests another pupil to stand on his desk, as this is meant to help him view the world from a different perspective. As the drama ensues, students recognize that the teacher was once a student at school. The teacher then decides to revive an old club referred to as the Dead Poets Society in which he was once a member while in the institution several years ago.

Todd is incapable of completing an assignment that the instructor gives out, but Keating intercedes to assist the boy in conceptualizing the requirements of the task through articulacy whereby the student recognizes his potential. When Charlie publishes unauthorized material in the school magazine, the headmaster locks horns with him. The new teacher advises the boys to be wise when trying to change the defective system.


According to David Swenson, existential meaning can never be appreciated without attaching meaning to it, which implies people need vehicles in life to take them to their desired destinations and these include values, ethical codes, and religion. Additionally, an individual can achieve what he or she desires through material objects or life activities, such as commerce and agriculture. Religion is the most preferred vehicle since it comprises of ways of life, narratives, customs, systems, experiences, content, principles, and signs that work in entirety to bring meaning to life events.

Institutional religion is the most favored since it provides ways for attaining goals and objectives in life. Religion is a special kind of knowledge, meaning it is different from other sources, such as science and philosophy, in the sense that it values transcendent or the piety.

Swenson further asserts science and philosophy are incapable of shedding light on what really constitutes life owing to the fact that they are simply focused on earthly things. Based on this, the author suggests it is upon human beings to liberate themselves from the slavery of the finite ends and aspire to attach meaning to what they do in otherworldliness (Baggini 21).

In the movie, the new instructor orders one of the learners to stand on his small table in order to view things from a different perspective. This means that the student was unable to interpret simple things that take place around him, yet the environment could never allow him to note the changes. When the students try to fight the administration for its injustices, the teacher advises them to go slow since the method they employed was ineffective, as human beings put in place strong mechanisms to control their subjects.

One of the students realizes there is something special in life that brings satisfaction, which is love. He goes on to compose a poem about her lover, but he is aware of the strong opposition he would receive from the parents. Swenson is of the view that setting desires externally run the risk of falling into despair and a soul set on external desire is captive to the world of its desires since it belongs to the world and does not own itself (Klemke 41).

In this regard, human beings are expected to focus on the internal desire, whereby it does not simply aim at fulfilling the selfish interests the way the school headmaster was concerned with satisfying his needs.

The new teacher was focused on training students to be responsible members of society by encouraging creativity and innovativeness while the school administration wanted the pupils to follow the set rules and standards to the later (Frankl 72). Students realize they cannot continue relying on the school rules for guidance since they are indifferent to their wishes, and they decide to oppose them, something that puts them in tricky situations.

Works Cited

Baggini, Julian. What is it all about? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.

Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. Print.

Klemke, Daniel. The Meaning of Life: A Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

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