Dead Poets’ Society

Some of you have shown interest in the 1989 film Dead Poets’ Society as its themes include freedom, individuality and conformity. The film was very popular in its day and it starred Robin Williams as a charismatic English teacher who introduces his students to poetry with devastating effect.

The main events in the narrative of this film deal with either deviation from what is considered to be acceptable behaviour or the transgression of rules. The narrative disruption is caused by John Keating’s arrival at the school; a chain of cause and effect which leads to the resolution where control is re-established. Through the re-establishment of control a political allegory is suggested. The story can be seen as symbolic of the ruthless way in which power is maintained, and opposition crushed, in society. You may also discuss the film in terms of how male power is reinforced and maintained and how those who deviate are punished.


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