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Dead Poets Society – Responsibility Essay

Exposition – Dead Poet’s Society
Neil’s suicide was more his father’s fault than that of Keating. Do you agree or disagree? The movie ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ produced in 1989 by Peter Weir unfolds many perception of life during the 1950’s. The Welton Academy, the place where the movie was filmed, sets a great example as it articulates the regimented life of numerous male students who suffer from pressure, lack of freedom, and high expectations of their parents and teachers. Many of these adolescent boys are considered rebellious instead of subsequent, for taking risks. However, the roles of these students are fundamental as they show the existing individualism throughout the movie.

The students also show existing individualism through the encounters that they had with one another, with their parents and with the school staff. However, if individualism is taken to its extent, things can either go right or for instance, Neil’s suicide; it can also go horribly wrong. But moving on to the topic, Yes, Neil’s death was a tragedy, many people believe only himself was held responsible. But if you look at the greater depth of the movie, there are other reasons why Neil chose to end his life. And if there is anything to blame for Neil’s death, there are strong possibilities that Neil’s father and Mr Keating are highly responsible. Who do you think is responsible for Neil’s death? Mr Perry, Neil’s dad, a traditional, persuasive, strict father who requires high expectation of his son or Mr Keating, Neil’s charismatic and inspirational teacher, the one who opened the students mind? Mr Perry can be blamed constantly of Neil’s suicide if Neil’s death was based on, basically, the lack of freedom Neil had during the time when he was still living. Mr Perry is a very traditional father who has high expectations of his son and just like any typical father in the film, he is forceful and aggressive towards his son’s educational life.

He is extremely domineering and believes that deciding for his son was the best idea. It was a tough challenge for Neil to get along with his father as he couldn’t overcome the difficult relationship he had with his father. One example would be when Neil decided to change his father’s will of him doing a career in medicine and alternatively, he chose to follow his dreams and do a career in performing arts. However, Mr Perry showed atrocious response in what Neil has done. Neil’s performance was rather aggravating than delighting to him. Mr Perry insisted to do nothing but decide for his son. Neil, thinking he’s had enough, stood for himself and tried to communicate with his father to tell him his own perspective. However, the traumatized boy who’s stuck in agony was unable to do so.

Neil believed that there was no way out of this horrendous imprisoned-life so his overall choice was to end everything by pull of a trigger. It was the only way for Neil to show independence to his father, the only way to show that he’s seizing the day. Mr Perry, who was unable to understand the state of event, was horrified…but if he listened and communicated properly with Neil…Neil would still probably, be breathing. Though there was no precise reason of Mr Keating getting involved with Neil’s suicide, Mr Keating was also, somehow, blamed for Neil’s death. Many audience of the film believe that Mr Keating did not present his philosophy of life clearly therefore causing the boys to interpret it incorrectly. This might’ve been during the time he opened his student’s mind and filled them with hopes and dreams, or the time when he told them to look at things in a different way, or the time when he told them to enjoy life to the fullest (aka Carpe Diem; Seize the day).

Though, he encouraged his pupils to stand up for themselves, to be independent, he also pushed them away from conforming to the school’s policy. One boundless example of Mr Keating’s inspiration, through the way he teaches the boys, was when he told them to rip out the introduction page of the poetry books. As he wanted them to gain the ability to have their own response, to build their own belief of what poetry is all about. And throughout the movie, Mr Keating would constantly tell his students to ‘Seize the day!’ though, he meant to live life to the fullest, he did not theoretically mean to suicide. Unknowingly, Mr Keating taught his students, the opposite message he was trying to get to them. Overall, the majority of reasons for Neil’s suicide was caused by Mr Perry, though Mr Keating can also be blamed as he lacked of explanation in his inspirational words to the boys, if he had explained his theory properly to his students, then they would’ve fully understood including the consequences it would bring. However, it is Mr Perry that has caused extreme destruction in Neil’s identity. Even from the start, Neil and his dad never had a proper father-and-son relationship. Mr Perry never gave Neil a chance to do something he wanted to do, instead he was eager of controlling his son’s life. He treated Neil like as if his son was imprisoned, no freedom, no choice and he was full of restrictions against his son.


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