How Do the Characters of “Dead Poets Society” Embrace the Concept of Humanism?

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When I found out that we were watching “Dead Poets Society” in English class I thought ‘again? I’ve seen that movie twice already!’ However, after the valuable lesson learning about Humanism, the movie made more sense. Now the “Dead Poets Society” is one of my favorite movies. Three characters in the movie show the concept of humanism through their actions. Neil, Knox, and Mr. Keating apply “Carpe Diem” to every moment of their lives and explore the world like a Humanist.

Neil is an intelligent boy with a successful future ahead of him. He is forced by his dad to take the path to become a Harvard med school student and eventually a much respected doctor. When Mr. Keating introduces the idea of Carpe Diem, the planned future becomes dull and unexciting for Neil. He auditions for the local play “A Midsummer Nights Dreams” and discovers his passion towards acting. Unfortunately, his dad finds the “acting business” absolutely outrageous. Neil begs his dad to let him stay for the play. The play ends successfully and Mr. Keating is sees potential in Neil. However, unable to settle the problems with his dad, Neil commits suicide that very night. Even though Neil only lived for a short times, he found out what he truly loved doing and spend the last moment of his life doing that.

Knox fell in love with Chris when he visited her house for a dinner he was invited to. He thinks about her everyday during school so he finally makes up his mind to tell her how he feels. He doesn’t care whether she has a boyfriend and he is not worried that she will reject him. What’s important to him is “now” and doing what feels right at the moment. Knox knows that time won’t wait for him forever and that if he doesn’t tell her now it’ll be too late.

Mr. Keating teaches the boys to live everyday to its fullest. Other school teachers and conservative parents don’t like him because his ideals seem a little outrageous. However, he is not afraid of upsetting the school dean because he is...
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