Dead Poets Society: Todd's Poetry Recital Scene Analysis

Topics: Dead Poets Society, Peter Weir, Angle Pages: 3 (1096 words) Published: June 2, 2012
Dead Poets Society Essay

The 1989 film Dead Poets' Society contains the inspiring story of Todd Anderson, who became transformed from a timid and self-doubting young boy into a confident, free-thinking individual and leader through the influence of his teacher, Mr. Keating. A defining moment of the film is when Todd recites a poem in Mr. Keating's class. Director Peter Weir uses various visual and verbal techniques such as camera angles, lighting, dialogue, music, and sound effects, in order to make this scene enjoyable for the viewer.

Mr. Keating instructs the pupils to write an original poem for their next assignment. Todd puts in a tremendous amount of effort to compose this poem but the thought of having to express his feelings in public fills Todd with intense fear. His insecurity gets the better of him, and he throws out the paper believing he has nothing to contribute. Later, in class, after being asked to write a poem, Todd tells Keating he never completed the assignment after he spent many hours writing and revising his poem only to have thrown it away before class. Keating says, "Mr. Anderson believes that everything he has inside of him is worthless and embarrassing. Correct Todd? Isn't that your fear?" To which Todd doesn't respond. Todd does believe this, yet Mr. Keating disagrees. He believes that Todd possesses creativity and great poetic capacity and that his fear disables him to share his gift with the world. Mr. Keating makes Todd stand up in front of the whole class, to improvise a poem. He believes that Todd has "something inside of him that is worth a great deal" and he brings it out. Todd delivers his poem successfully, informing the viewer that he is now beginning his transition from an insecure child to a confident young man. This allows us to enjoy the scene thoroughly.

A series of camera angles are used to symbolize many ideas which make the scene perpetually enjoyable. The first is a high angled shot from the...
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