Dead Poet's Society Essay.

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Dead Poets’ Society Essay

In “Dead Poets’ Society,” directed by Peter Weir, setting is one the fundamental aspects of the film as it conveys and develop the main theme: conformity versus personal freedom and nonconformity. The importance of setting is revealed in the film through the use of various visual techniques. It is through the choice and presentation of the setting - single-sex boys’ school- that audiences are able to and further understand of the main ideas presented in the film.

The general setting of “Dead Poets’ Society” is Welton, a single-sex boys’ school in rural Vermont, New England in the late 1950s. This rural setting is important as it escapes the influence of the fast-evolving metropolitan civilisation, which reflects one of the “four pillars” of the school- “tradition”. The fact that the film is set in New England reinforces this idea, as New England is in many ways similar to England- a country with old-fashioned customs and culture. This is reflected in the film where traditional Scottish music can be heard during the processional of the school assembly. Together, this shows how the students and teachers of the school are conformed to value the traditions of Welton and that this tradition is insusceptible to change. While the film was released in 1989, “Dead Poets’ Society” is set during they year of 1959, which is especially significant being so close to the 60s- an era where free-love and unconventional ideas were introduced. This not only shows how students have conformed to the expectations of Welton until this time, but also foreshadows the events that are to come in the film.

Apart from the general setting, the film also has two predominant local settings: the school grounds of Welton and the nearby countryside. When the audience first seethe school grounds during the opening section of the film, we are confronted with the sturdy stone structures of its buildings, high interior walls and ceilings, shown in high angle camera...
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