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The Idea of Carpe Diem in The Movie Dead Poets Society

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In the movie, Dead Poets Society, the idea of “carpe diem” or “seize the day’ is the signature phrase between a group of boys and their club. Inspired by their teacher, Mr. Keating, the boys are faced with opposition with the school administration of their club called, Dead Poets Society. In this group, they read poems and talk about how they should think for themselves. Out of this, it is debated whether or not positives or negatives came out of the group, if they used the group wisley, and if the term “carpe diem” is healthy enough to succeed towards life. The Dead Poet’s Society can be seen to have positive and negative effects. On one end of this cycle, the positive to this group is that the boys learned how to think for themselves. Thinking for yourself is very important because everyone is used to being taught on a straight line, which meant them having no creativity. On the other side of the cycle, the rebellious group did have negatives. The rebellious name of the group is seen to go against the rules that are set before them. Only negative effects come from going against guidelines. Elliot D. Cohen ph.D. says, “It is often said that people are either followers or leaders. Unfortunately, if you think like this and consider yourself a follower, you are setting yourself up for failure.” She has a point in saying that if you don’t think for yourself, than someone will think for you. This can be seen with people who do not vote. If you don’t speak at your opinions, someone will go ahead and run the country without you ideas, that you should have spoken up too. To voice your own opinions and ideas is exactly what those boys do in the story. They begin to think for themselves instead of doing what everyone wants them to do.

The small group of boys in the Dead Poets Society used thier group to their advantage. The boys’ use of drugs and alcohol while meeting in their usual spot should show how they didn’t use the group wiselyfor smart decisions. But the idea of, “carpe diem” was used effectively. The boys didn’t need anyone else’s acceptance for their decisions. They used every day as a new day and never dwelled on the past. The term seize the day was used wisely by the boys, but within the group as a whole, they had their flaws. These types of situations can be seen with kids growing up in the world. Some ideas have good intent, but yet different results. As Ecclesiastes 11:4,6 writes, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. Be sure to stay busy and plant a variety of corps, for you never know which will grow, perhaps they all will.” This verse is evident when the boys try to stay busy in their clubs and groups around the school.

The term used by Mr. Keating and they boys “carpe diem” or “seize the day” can be a healthy approach to life. If used with good intentions and the right mindset, people can use this term in their everyday life to relieve of stress people put on themselves from trying to meet people’s standard. But if used with evil intentions, people go without thinking, and will cause only harm to themselves and those around them. In the right state of mind, “carpe diem” could make life easier. Ryan Freeman from “The Fearless Mind” writes the best way to approach life is to 1. Be the first 2. Create Opportunities 3. Be a problem solver. He then concludes his writings with telling his audience to not do everything all at once. With all of this in mind, life could be a breeze, but we all place stress on our shoulders that we shouldn’t. “Carpe diem” is just one of these ways to live in the moment. The boys in the Dead Poets Society were resilient. They all had their own thoughts and their own opinion, regarding of what other people thought of them. Without inspiration from Mr. Keating, the boys would be stuck in the endless cycle of life only living for other people. This group used everything to their advantage, whether or not it has consequences. The world today needs more of these ideas in our cultural and in the world around us.


  1. Cohen, D. “Think for Yourself.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,
  2. QuotesCosmos. “Ecclesiastes 11:4 ‘He That Observes the Wind…’: Translation, Meaning.” QuotesCosmos, QuotesCosmos, 15 Sept. 2017,
  3. Freeman, Ryan. “Dr. Craig Manning.” Dr Craig Manning RSS,

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