Exploring the Theme of Freedom in Dead Poets Society
The Dead Poets Society, is an exaimination of the pressures that a life of expectations and tradition that lock down free thought and free expression.The students are forced into the rigiged ideals and tradtions of their families while the schools out of way to limit freedom of expression and enjoyment of their youth. When Mr.Keating starts teaching at Welton Academy situtation changes and a teacher is teaching freedom of expression and freedom of thought. The consequences of this change is no more apparent than in Neil Perry.
Neil Perry was as anyother student in the school, pressured by parents, teachers, and tradtion. Expected by his father to at least go to medical school, Neil feels there is no freedom in his own life and we (the viewers/readers) discover that truth as we continue in the story to his first interaction with his father. In this interaction Neil’s father finds that his son has to many extracurriculars and his making drop a class that seems about writing a paper of some kind produced by the school. This is after making go to summer for Cheimistry, a class we are to assume he did not need to go to summmer school for. Neil does try to explain to his father why it’s important to him, but he does not care.
When Neil meets Mr. Keating after his first class, he inatalilu rejects his lesson, throwing away his note of “Seize the Day” in his notebook. However, by Mr. Keating’s second lesson, he has come to embrace his teachings. Neil looks up Mr. Keating and discovers that his xecentric English teacher was in a club called the Dead Poet’s Society. After asking Mr.Keating about this he starts the club anew with his friends. This begins his rebelllion to Welton and his father.
As lessons continue Neil, begains to think for himself more and more, and realizes that he takes to acting well. Deciding to deny the wishes of his father tries out for a part in the school’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is succesful at gettin said part and later talks to Mr. Keating. He explains there that his father never supports him in anything he wants. After being asked if told his fahter how he felt Neil explains that his father wouldn’t care and would that his acting is just a phase. Mr. Keating still rightly urges him to talk with fahter before the play which he does not, and from there its a downward spiral.
Neil does his andn gives a rather spectacular performence at the play, however his father remains unmoved. He confronts Neil and finally they talk about everything, by then though Neil’s father was too anrgy at his defince and secretcy to truely listen to his son. He tells him that he will be changing schools and going to Harved to study medicine though Neil’s passion is in acting, Neil is devistated and sees no way out. He is tired of life being dictated by others and comes to the conclusion that such a life isn’t worth living as such, he takes the “only” way out and comits sucicide.
Neil is the example of the flaws of unmitgated free thinking. He believes that peopl will not understand how he thinks and to certain exctent believes he should have to explain it. Despite freely think for himself he is putting limiters on what he believes other people will and do think, appying the same pressuere to others he hated for himself. His free thinking also limited his thinking, in how he saw others and in options to solve problems. In the end Neil’s only parial accepetance of free thinking left him closed minded in a way that took his life.