Dead Poets Society Quotes

Thursday, August 4 by Sarah Sullivan

Movie quotes are of special interest to the average movie watcher and “Dead Poets Society” quotes are no exception. A rich screenplay filled to the brim with inspirational talks on writing and poetry, it's hard to watch "Dead Poets Society" without getting inspired. With the film taking the 1989 Academy Award for Best Screenplay, there are plenty of wonderful quotes choose from. So indulge your mind and take in some “Dead Poets Society” quotes.

  1. John Keating: “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” This quote from Robin Williams’ legendary English teacher John Keating effectively sums up “Dead Poets Society.” The impact of words is an essential theme to the film as Keating Breaks the stuffy tradition of an all-boys school and opens his students’ minds to the world around them.  
  2. John Keating: “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” Entering class whistling the 1812 Overture and pulling the boys out of the classroom to inspire them to be more than what they are, Keating asks the students to observe the trophy case of memorabilia featuring graduated students of Welton. During what is possibly one of the most iconic monologues of the film, the students listen with bated breaths as Keating whispers the mantra all of them will soon adopt: “Carpe Diem.”  
  3. John Keating: “Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you're slightly more daring, O Captain, my Captain.”  Though Keating’s introduction makes his students laugh, this quote effectively reveals to them the kind of bold teaching style they will come to know, love and crave.  
  4. John Keating: “Excrement! That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard! We're not laying pipe! We're talking about poetry. . .Now I want you to rip out that page.”  The act of ripping out the introduction of their poetry books reveals to the boys that this will be no ordinary English class, nor will they ever again look at poetry with dull indifference.
  5. John Keating: “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone.”  Dedicated to “sucking the marrow out of life,” the Dead Poets Society Keating partook in read this phrase from Thoreau at all their meetings. When his students take things too far with a practical joke, Keating references the quote when he tells them not to overdo it.  
  6. John Keating: “There's a time for daring and there's a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.” This quote sees Keating warning his students after the practical joke, reminding them that it is more important to control themselves so they can continue taking his classes.  
  7. John Keating: “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that Break out!”  Yet another of Keating’s inspiring English class speeches urges students to break out of the dull indifference painted by the other teachers at Welton.  
  8. John Keating: “I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP OVER THE ROOFTOPS OF THE WORLD.”  Quoting Walt Whitman, Keating uses this to get one of his students to see that he does have something to say, that even if he thinks he has nothing worthwhile to write, he does have a “barbaric yawp” inside of him.  
  9. John Keating: “I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.” Nolan: “At these boys' age? Not on your life!”  This exchange between the headmaster of Welton and Keating reveals the indifference of the teachers of Welton and the inability to believe the boys capable of being inspired.  
  10. John Keating: “Why do I stand up here? Anybody?” Dalton: “To feel taller!”  John Keating : “No! Thank you for playing Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”  This quote shows that the mere act of standing on a desk can inspire an individual to understand that it is imperative to look at the world differently.
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