DEAD POET'S SOCIETY by Tom Shulman Dialogue Transcript ____________________________________________________________________ MOTHER Now remember, keep your shoulders back. MAN 1 Okay. Put your arm around your brother. MAN 1 Okay, one more. HABER Now just to review, you'll follow along with the procession until you get to the headmaster. At that point, he will indicate to you to light the candles of the boys'. MAN 2 All right, boys. Let's settle down. MAN 3 Banners up! MR. NOLAN Ladies and gentlemen, boys, the light of the knowledge. MR. NOLAN One hundred years ago, in 1859, forty- one boys sat in this room and were asked the same question that now greets you at the start of each semester. Gentlemen, what are the four pillars? BOYS Tradition! Honor! Discipline! Excellence! MR. NOLAN In her first year, Welton Academy graduated five students. Last year we graduated fifty-one and more than seventy-five percent of those went on to the Ivy League. This, this kind of accomplishment is the result of fervent dedication to the principles taught here. This is why you parents have been sending your sons. This is why we are the best preparatory school in the United States. MR. NOLAN As you know, our beloved Mr. Portius of the English Department retired last term. You will have the opportunity later to meet his replacement Mr. John Keating, himself an honor's graduate of this school and who, for the past several years, has been teaching at the highly regarded Chester School in London. MR. NOLAN Glad you could come by. MR. ANDERSON Thrilling ceremony as usual, Dr. Nolan. MR. NOLAN You've been away too long. MRS. ANDERSON Hello, Dr. Nolan. MR. NOLAN Good to have you. MRS. ANDERSON This is our youngest, Todd. MR. NOLAN Mr. Anderson, you have some big shoes to fill, young man. Your brother was one of our finest. TODD Thank you. MRS. PERRY Lovely ceremony. MR. NOLAN Thank you. I'm so glad you liked it. MR. PERRY Gale. MR. NOLAN Tom. MR. PERRY Good to see you again. NEIL Hello, Mr. Nolan. MR. NOLAN Neil, we expect great things from you this year. NEIL Thank you, sir. MR. PERRY Well, he won't disappoint us. Right, Neil? NEIL I'll do my best, sir. FATHER 1 Come on, son. MOTHER 1 Chin up. BOY 1 Okay. MOTHER 1 Chin up. FATHER 1 No tears now. BOY 2 I don't want to go here. MOTHER 2 Honey, I love you. FATHER 1 I'll walk you over. MOTHER 2 Do your lessons. NEIL Hey. I hear we're gonna be roommates. I'm Neil Perry. TODD I'm Todd Anderson. NEIL Why'd you leave Balincrest? TODD My brother went here. NEIL Oh, so you're that Anderson! FATHER This is for his sinuses. And, oh, if he, if he can't, uh, swallow, you give him one of these. And if he has trouble breathing, you give him-- HABER All right, fine. FATHER And, oh, did you remember your vaporizer? And the vapor-- BOY Hey, how's it going, Neil? CAMERON Neil? Study group tonight? NEIL Yeah, sure. CAMERON Business as usual, huh? Hey, I heard you got the new kid. Looks like a stiff. Oops. NEIL Listen. Don't mind Cameron. He's, uh, born with his foot in his mouth. Know what I mean? CHARLIE Rumor has it you did summer school. NEIL Yep. Chemistry. My father thought I should get ahead. How was your summer, Slick? CHARLIE Keen. Meeks, door, close. MEEKS Yes, sir. CHARLIE Gentlemen, what are the four pillars? BOYS Travesty! Horror! Decadence! Excrement! CHARLIE Okay, study group. Meeks aced Latin. I didn't quite flunk English. So if you want, we got our study group. NEIL Sure. Cameron asked me too. Anyone mind including him? CHARLIE What's his specialty? Bootlicking? NEIL Uh, he's your roommate. CHARLIE That's not my fault. MEEKS Uh, I'm sorry. My name is Stephen Meeks. NEIL Oh, this is Todd Anderson. TODD Nice to meet you. MEEKS Nice to meet you. CHARLIE Charlie Dalton. KNOX Knox Overstreet. NEIL Todd's brother was Jeffrey Anderson. CHARLIE Oh, yeah, sure. Valedictorian, National Merit Scholar. MEEKS Oh, well! Welcome to Hellton. CHARLIE It's every bit as tough as they say. Unless you're a genius like Meeks. MEEKS He flatters me. That's why I'll help him with Latin. CHARLIE And English, and trig. NEIL It's open. NEIL Father, I thought you'd gone. CHARLIE Mr. Perry, sir. MR. PERRY Keep your seats, fellas. Keep your seats. Neil, I've just spoken to Mr. Nolan. I think that you're taking too many extracurricular activities this semester. And I've decided that you should drop school annual. NEIL But I'm the assistant editor this year. MR. PERRY Well, I'm sorry, Neil. NEIL But, father, I can't. It wouldn't be fair. MR. PERRY Fellas? Would you excuse us for a moment? MR. PERRY Don't you ever dispute me in public! Do you understand? NEIL Father, I wasn't disputing you- MR. PERRY After you've finished medical school and you're on your own, then you can do as you damn well please. But until then, you do as I tell you. Is that clear? NEIL Yes, sir. I'm sorry. MR. PERRY You know how much this means to your mother, don't you? NEIL Yes, sir. NEIL You know me. I'm always taking on too much. MR. PERRY Well, that's my boy. Now, listen. You need anything, you let us know, huh? NEIL Yes, sir. CHARLIE Why doesn't he let you do what you want? KNOX Yeah. Neil, tell him off. It couldn't get any worse. NEIL Oh, that's rich! Like you guys tell your parents off, Mr. Future Lawyer and Mr. Future Banker? KNOX Okay, so I don't like it any more than you do. NEIL Well, stop telling me how to talk to my father. You guys are the same way. KNOX All right, all right. Jesus. So what are you gonna do, then? NEIL What I have to do. Drop the annual. CHARLIE Well, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. It's just a bunch of jerks trying to impress Nolan. NEIL I don't care. I don't give a damn about any of it. MEEKS Well, uh, Latin, eight o'clock in my room? NEIL Yeah. KNOX I guess so. MEEKS Todd, you're welcome to join us. CHARLIE Yeah, come along, pal. TODD Thanks. McALLISTER Slow down, boys! Slow down, you horrible phalanx of pubescence! SCIENCE TEACHER Pick three laboratory experiments from the project list and report on them every five weeks. The first twenty questions at the end of Chapter One are due tomorrow. McALLISTER Agricolam. BOYS Agricolam. McALLISTER Agricola. BOYS Agricola. McALLISTER Agricolae. BOYS Agricolae. McALLISTER Agricolarum. BOYS Agricolarum. McALLISTER Agricolis. BOYS Agricolis. McALLISTER Agricolas. BOYS Agricolas. McALLISTER Agricolis. BOYS Agricolis. McALLISTER Again, please. Agricola. BOYS Agricola. HABER Your study of trigonometry requires absolute precision. Anyone failing to turn in any homework assignment will be penalized one point off their final grade. Let me urge you now not to test me on this point. BOY 1 Hey, Spaz! Spaz! BOY 2 Brian damaged. KEATING Well, come on! BOY Let's go. Let's go, guys. KEATING "O Captain! My Captain!" Who knows where that comes from? Anybody. KEATING Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now, this class, you can either call me Mr. Keating, or, if you're slightly more daring, "O Captain! My Captain." KEATING Now let me dispel a few rumors, so they don't fester into facts. Yes, I, too, attended Hellton and have survived. And no, at that time, I was not the mental giant you see before you. I was the intellectual equivalent of a ninety- eight-pound weakling. I would go to the beach, and people would kick copies of Byron in my face. KEATING Now, Mr. Pitts. That's rather unfortunate name. Mr. Pitts, where are you? KEATING Mr. Pitts, will you open your hymnal to page 542? Read the first stanza of the poem you find there. PITTS "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time"? KEATING Yes. That's the one. Somewhat appropriate, isn't it? PITTS Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying: And this same flowers that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying. KEATING Thank you, Mr. Pitts. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." The Latin term for that sentiment is "Carpe diem". Now who knows what that means? MEEKS Carpe diem. That's "seize the day." KEATING Very good, Mr-- MEEKS Meeks. KEATING Meeks. Another unusual name. Seize the day. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." Why does the writer use these lines? CHARLIE Because he's in a hurry. KEATING No! Ding! Thank you for playing anyway. Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is, one day, gonna stop breathing, turn cold, and die. I would like you to step forward over here and peruse some of the faces from the past. You've walked past them many times, but I don't think you've really looked at them. KEATING They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts, full of hormones just like you. Invincible just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see, gentlemen, those boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen. Do you hear it? KEATING Carpe. Hear it? Carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary. PITTS That was weird. NEIL But different. KNOX Spooky if you ask me. CAMERON He'll test us on that stuff? CHARLIE Oh, come on, Cameron. Don't you get anything? CAMERON What? What? TEACHER: Let's go, boys. Hustle up in here. That means you, Dalton. MEEKS All right, who's up for our study group tonight, guys? BOY 1 Sure. BOY 2 Me. BOY 3 Me, me, me. KNOX Well, I can't make it, guys. I have to have dinner at the Danburrys' house tonight. CHARLIE Ooh, the Danburrys. NEIL Who are the Danburrys? CHARLIE Big alums! How'd you swing that? KNOX Friends of my dad's. They're probably in their nineties or something. Sounds great, doesn't it? NEIL Anything's better than Hellton hash. CHARLIE I'll second that. MEEKS Yeah, well, we'll see. NEIL Hey! Want to come to the study group tonight? TODD Uh, no. No. I've, I-I've got some history I wanna do. NEIL Suit yourself. HABER Ready, Overstreet? KNOX Ready to go, sir. MRS. DANBURRY Chet, can you get that? CHET I can't, Mom. CHRIS I'll get it. CHRIS Can I help you? KNOX Hi. K-Knox Overstreet. Uh, Dr. Hager. CHRIS Hi. KNOX This is the Danburrys', right? CHRIS Are, are you here to see Chet? KNOX Mrs. Danburry? CHRIS No. MRS. DANBURRY I'm sorry. Thank you, Chris. I'm Mrs. Danburry. You must be Knox. KNOX Yes. MRS. DANBURRY Back by nine? Please, come on in. CHET Chris, come on. What are you doing? CHRIS Chet, I'm coming. MR. DANBURRY Knox! How are you? Joe Danburry. KNOX Nice to meet you, sir. MR. DANBURRY Well, he's the spitting image of his father, isn't he? How is he? Come on in. KNOX He's great. He just did a big case for G.M. MR. DANBURRY Yeah, I know where you're headed. Like father, like son, huh? BOY 1 Yes! BOY 2 Oh, sacrifice bishop to queen six. BOY 1 Another game? BOY 2 What do you mean? PITTS Boo! CAMERON Replace, uh, these numbers here with X-- For X and Y. NEIL Of course. CAMERON Of course. So what's the problem? CHARLIE How was dinner? KNOX Huh? CHARLIE How was dinner? KNOX Terrible. Awful. CHARLIE What? What happened? KNOX Tonight I met the most beautiful girl I have ever seen in my entire life. NEIL Are you crazy? What's wrong with that? KNOX She's practically engaged. To Chet Danburry. CHARLIE The guy could eat a football. PITTS Too bad. KNOX Too bad? It's worse than too bad, Pitts. It's a tragedy. A girl this beautiful in love with such a jerk? PITTS All the good ones go for jerks, you know that. CAMERON Yeah, forget her. Open your trig book and try and figure out problem five. KNOX I can't just forget her, Cameron. And I certainly can't think about trig! PITTS We got it! HABER All right, gentlemen, five minutes. Let's go. CHARLIE Did you see her naked? KNOX Very funny, Dalton. HABER That wouldn't be a, uh, radio in your lap, wouldn't it, Mr. Pitts? PITTS No, sir. A science experiment. Radar. KEATING Gentlemen, open your texts to page 21 of this introduction. Mr. Perry, will you read the opening paragraph of the preface entitled "Understanding Poetry"? NEIL "'Understanding Poetry,' by Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D. To fully understand poetry, we must first be fluent with its meter, rhyme and figures of speech, then ask two questions: 1) How artfully has the objective of the poem been rendered and 2) How important is that objective? Question 1 rates the poem's perfection; question 2 rates its importance. And once these questions have been answered, determining the poem's greatness becomes a relatively simple matter." NEIL "If the poem's score for perfection is plotted on the horizontal of a graph and its importance is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area of the poem yields the measure of its greatness." NEIL "A sonnet by Byron might score high on the vertical but only average on the horizontal. A Shakespearean sonnet, on the other hand, would score high both horizontally and vertically, yielding a massive total area, thereby revealing the poem to be truly great. As you proceed through the poetry in this book, practice this rating method. As your ability to evaluate poems in this matter grows, so will, so will your enjoyment and understanding of poetry." KEATING Excrement. That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard. We're not laying pipe. We're talking about poetry. How can you describe poetry like American Bandstand? "Oh, I like Byron. I give him a 42, but I can't dance to it." Now, I want you to rip out that page. KEATING Go on. Rip out the entire page. You heard me. Rip it out. Rip it out! Go on. Rip it out! KEATING Thank you, Mr. Dalton. Gentlemen, tell you what. Don't just tear out that page, tear out the entire introduction. I want it gone. History. Leave nothing of it. Rip it out! Rip! Be gone, J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D. Rip. Shred. Tear. Rip it out! I want to hear nothing but ripping of Mr. Pritchard. We'll perforate it, put it on a roll. It's not the Bible. You're not gonna go to hell for this. KEATING Go on. Make a clean tear. I want nothing left of it. CAMERON We shouldn't be doing this. KEATING Rip! Rip! Rip! Rip it out! Rip! KEATING Rip it out! McALLISTER What the hell is going on here? KEATING I don't hear enough rips! McALLISTER Mr. Keating. KEATING Mr. McAllister. McALLISTER I'm sorry. I, I didn't know you were here. KEATING I am. Ah. McALLISTER So you are. Excuse me. KEATING Keep ripping, gentlemen! This is a battle. A war. And the casualties could be your hearts and souls. Thank you, Dalton. Armies of academics going forward, measuring poetry. No! We'll not have that here. No more Mr. J. Evans Pritchard. Now, my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and language. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. Now I see that look in Mr. Pitts' eye, like 19th- century literature has nothing to do with going to business school or medical school. Right? Maybe. Mr. Hopkins, you may agree with him, thinking, "Yes, we should simply study our Mr. Pritchard and learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions." I've a little secret for you. Huddle up. Huddle up! KEATING We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering -- these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love -- these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman O me! O life! of the question of these recurring, Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill'd with the foolish... What good amid these O me, O life? Answer That you are here--That life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. KEATING "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." What will your verse be? BOYS For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly grateful. Amen. McALLISTER Quite an interesting class you gave today, Mr. Keating. KEATING Sorry if I shocked you, Mr. McAllister. McALLISTER Oh, there's no need to apologize. It was very fascinated, misguided though it was. KEATING You think so? McALLISTER You take a big risk by encouraging them to become artists, John. When they realize that they're not Rembrandts, Shakespeares or Mozarts, they'll hate you for it. KEATING We're not talking artist, George. We're talking free thinkers. McALLISTER Free thinkers at seventeen? KEATING Funny. I never pegged you as a cynic. McALLISTER Not a cynic. A realist. "Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams and I'll show you a happy man." KEATING "But only in their dreams can men be truly free. 'Twas always thus, and always thus will be." McALLISTER Tennyson? KEATING No. Keating. NEIL Hey, I found his senior annual in the library. NEIL Listen to this. "Captain of the soccer team, Editor of the school annual, Cambridge bound, Thigh man, and Dead Poets Society." CAMERON "Man most likely to do anything." CHARLIE Thigh man! Mr."K" was a hell-raiser. PITTS What's the Dead Poets Society? NEIL I don't know. MEEKS Is there a picture in the annual? CAMERON No. NEIL Nothing. No other mention of it. MR. NOLAN That boy there, see me after lunch. NEIL Mr. Keating! Mr. Keating! Sir? CHARLIE Say something. NEIL O Captain! My Captain! KEATING Gentlemen. NEIL We were just looking in your old annual. KEATING Oh, my God. No, that's not me. Stanley "The Tool" Wilson. KEATING God. NEIL What was the Dead Poets Society? KEATING I doubt the present administration would look too favorably upon that. NEIL Why? What was it? KEATING Gentlemen, can you keep a secret? NEIL Sure, yeah. KEATING The Dead Poets was dedicated to "sucking the marrow out of life." That's a phrase from Thoreau we would invoke at the beginning of every meeting. You see, we would gather at the old Indian cave and take turns reading from Thoreau, Whitman, Shelly -- the biggies -- even some of our own verse. And, in the enchantment of the moment, we'd let poetry work its magic. KNOX You mean, it was a bunch of guys sitting around reading poetry? KEATING No, Mr. Overstreet, it wasn't just guys. We weren't a Greek organization. We were Romantics. We didn't just read poetry, we let it drip from our tongues like honey. Spirits soared, women swooned and gods were created, gentlemen. Not a bad way to spend an evening, eh? Thank you, Mr. Perry, for this stroll down Amnesia Lane. Burn that, especially my picture. NEIL Dead Poets Society. CHARLIE What? NEIL I say we go tonight. CHARLIE Tonight? CAMERON Now, wait a minute. NEIL Everybody in? PITTS Where's this cave he's talking about? NEIL It's beyond the stream. I know where it is. PITTS That's miles! CAMERON Sounds boring to me. CHARLIE Don't come. CAMERON Do you know how many demerits we're talking, Dalton? CHARLIE So don't come. Please. CAMERON Look, all I'm saying is that we have to be careful. We can't get caught. CHARLIE No shit, Sherlock. HABER You boys there, hurry up! NEIL All right. Who's in? CAMERON Oh, come on, Neil. Hager's the- NEIL Forget Hager! No. Who's in? CHARLIE I'm in. HABER I'm warning you! Move! CAMERON Me, too. PITTS I don't know, Neil. NEIL What? CHARLIE Pitts! Pittsie, come on! MEEKS His grades are hurting, Charlie. NEIL You can help him, Meeks. PITTS What is this, a midnight study group? NEIL Forget it, Pitts, you're coming. Meeks, your grades hurting, too? MEEKS I'll try anything once. CHARLIE Except sex. CAMERON I'm in as long as we're careful. CHARLIE What about you, Knox? KNOX I don't know, Charlie. CHARLIE Come on, Knox. I'll help you get Chris. KNOX Yeah? How? CHARLIE Women swoon! KNOX But why do they swoon? Charlie, tell me why they swoon. Charlie! NEIL You're not listening. Any questions? Look, you follow the stream to the waterfall. It's right there. It's gotta be like that. CAMERON I don't know. It's starting to sound dangerous. CHARLIE Oh. Why don't you just stay home? CAMERON Hey, you're crazy. McALLISTER For God's sake, stop chattering and sit down! NEIL Todd, are you coming tonight? TODD No. NEIL Why not? God, you were there. You heard Keating. Don't you want to do something about-- TODD Y-Yes, but-- NEIL But, but what? TODD Keating said that everybody took turns reading and I don't wanna do that. NEIL Gosh. You really have a problem with that, don't you? TODD N-No, I, I don't have a problem. Neil, I just-- I don't wanna do it, okay? NEIL All right. What if you didn't have to read? What if you just came and listened? TODD That's not how it works. NEIL Forget how it works! What if, what if they said it was okay? TODD What? What, are you gonna go up and ask them if-- No, no. NEIL I'll be right back. TODD Neil? Neil? McALLISTER Oh, shut up, will you? BOY 1 It's my stuff for my asthma, okay? Could you give that back, please? Could you give that back? BOY 2 What's the matter? Don't you like snakes? NEIL You're in. BOY 1 Get away from me, okay? BOY 3 Spaz, why don't you check your pockets? BOY 4 Come, Spaz. I have to brush my teeth. BOY 5 Hurry up! Get off. HABER Cut out that racket in there. NEIL Come on. Let's get out. Go! Go! CHARLIE I'm a dead poet! MEEKS Charlie. CHARLIE Guys, over here! MEEKS You're funny. You're real funny. PITTS It's too wet. CAMERON Charlie, you trying to smoke us out of here? NEIL No, no, the smoke's going right up this opening. PITTS You okay? MEEKS Oh, God. Clods. NEIL All right, all right. Forget the fire. CHARLIE Forget it, forget it. NEIL Lets go, gentlemen. MEEKS Can't light a swamp. NEIL I hereby reconvene the Dead Poets Society, Welton Chapter. The, uh, meetings will be conducted by myself and the other new initiates now present. Uh, Todd Anderson, because he prefers not to read, will keep the minutes of the meetings. NEIL I'll now read the traditional opening message by society member, Henry David Thoreau. "I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." CHARLIE I'll second that. NEIL "To put to rout all that was not life, and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." NEIL And, uh, Keating's marked a bunch of other pages. CHARLIE All right, intermission. Dig deep. Right here, right here, lay it down. MEEKS On the mud? We're gonna put our food on the mud? CHARLIE Meeks, put your coat down. Picnic blanket. MEEKS Yes, sir! Excuse me. PITTS Use Meeks' coat. CHARLIE Don't keep anything back, either. You guys are always bumming my smokes. MEEKS Raisins? CHARLIE Yeah. Wait a minute. Who gave us half a roll? CAMERON I'm eating the other half. CHARLIE Come on. CAMERON What? You want me to put it back? NEIL It was a dark and rainy night. And this old lady, who had a passion for jigsaw puzzles, sat by herself in her house at her table to complete the new jigsaw puzzle. As she pieced the puzzle together, she realized to her astonishment that the image that was formed was her very own room, and the figure in the center of the puzzle as she completed it was herself. And with trembling hands, she placed the last four pieces and stared in horror at the face of a demented madman at the window. The last thing that this old lady ever heard was the sound of breaking glass. KNOX No shit. NEIL Yes. This is true. This is true. CAMERON I've got one that's even better than that. I do. There's a young married couple and they're driving through the forest at night from a long trip. And they run out of gas and there's a madman on the loose. CHARLIE Oh, that thing with the hands? PITTS This is the madman on the roof? CAMERON I love that story. CHARLIE I told you that one. CAMERON You did not. I got that in, uh, camp in sixth grade. CHARLIE Yeah. Were you six last year? PITTS "In a mean abode in the Shankill Road lived a man named William Bloat. Now he had a wife, the plague of his life, who continually got his goat. And one day at dawn with her night shift on, he slit her bloody throat." Oh, and it gets worse. CHARLIE Do you wanna hear a real poem? MEEKS Want this? CHARLIE All right? No, I don't need it. You take it. MEEKS What, did you bring one? NEIL You memorized a poem? CHARLIE I didn't memorize a poem. Move up. MEEKS An original piece by Charlie Dalton. KNOX An original piece. PITTS Take center stage. NEIL You know this is history. Right? This is history. MEEKS Oh, wow. CAMERON Where did you get that? CHARLIE Teach me to love? Go teach thyself more wit: I, chief professor, am of it. The god of love, if such a thing there be, May learn to love from me. NEIL Wow! Did you write that? CHARLIE Abraham Cowley. Okay, who's next? NEIL Alfred Lord Tennyson. Come my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset. And though we are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;-- One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. MEEKS Then I had religion, then I had a vision. I could not turn from their revel in derision. Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black, cutting through the forest with a golden track. Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black- CHARLIE Meeks, Meeks. MEEKS ...cutting through the forest with a golden track. Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black, cutting through the forest with a golden track. Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black, cutting through the forest with a golden track. Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black, cutting through the forest with a golden track. BOYS Then I saw the Congo creeping through the black, cutting through the forest wit... KNOX Morose? KEATING Exactly! Morose. Now, language was developed for one endeavor, and that is? Mr. Anderson? Come on! Are you a man or an amoeba? KEATING Mr. Perry? NEIL Uh, to communicate. KEATING No! To woo women. Today we're going to be talking about William Shakespeare. BOY Oh, God! KEATING I know. A lot of you looked forward to this about as much as you look forward to root canal work. We're gonna talk about Shakespeare as someone who writes something very interesting. Now, many of you have seen Shakespeare done very much like this, "O Titus, bring your friend hither." But if any of you have seen Mr. Marlon Brando, you know, Shakespeare can be different. "Friend, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears." You can also imagine, maybe, John Wayne as Macbeth going, "Well, is this a dagger I see before me?" KEATING "Dogs, sir? Oh, not just now. I do enjoy a good dog once in a while, sir. You can have yourself a three-course meal from one dog. Start with your canine crudites, go to your Fido flambe for main course and for dessert, a Pekingese parfait. And you can pick your teeth with a little paw." KEATING Why do I stand up here? Anybody? CHARLIE To feel taller. KEATING No! Thank you for playing, Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind yourself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. KEATING You see, the world looks very different from up here. You don't believe me? Come see for yourself. Come on. Come on! KEATING Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try! Now, when you read, don't just consider what the author thinks. Consider what you think. 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! Don't just walk off the edge like lemmings. Look around you. KEATING There! There you go, Mr. Priske. Thank you! Yes! Dare to strike out and find new ground. Now, in addition to your essays, I would like you to compose a poem of your own, an original work. KEATING That's right! You have to deliver it aloud in front of the class on Monday. Bonne chance, gentlemen. KEATING Mr. Anderson? Don't think that I don't know that this assignment scares the hell out of you, you mole. MR. NOLAN Take a power train in two! Three! Keep your eyes in the boat! MEEKS We got it, Pittsie. We got it! Radio Free American! NEIL I found it. TODD You found what? NEIL What I wanna do right now. What's really, really inside me. TODD "A Midsummer Night's Dream"? NEIL This is it. TODD What is this? NEIL It's a play, dummy. TODD I know that. I-- Wh-Wh-What does it have to do with you? NEIL Right. They're putting it on at Henley Hall. Open tryouts. Open tryouts! TODD Yes, so? NEIL So, I'm gonna act. Yes, yes! I'm gonna be an actor! Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to try this. I even tried to go to summer stock auditions last year, but, of course, my father wouldn't let me. For the first time in my whole life I know what I wanna do, and for the first time I'm gonna do it whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem! TODD Neil, Neil, hold on a minute. How are you gonna be in a play if your father won't let you? NEIL First I gotta get the part, then I can worry about that. TODD Yeah, but won't he kill you if he finds out you went to an audition and didn't even tell him? NEIL No, no, no, no. As far as I'm concerned, he won't have to know about any of this. TODD Well, that's impossible. NEIL Bullshit! Nothing's impossible. TODD Well, why don't you just call him and ask him? And m-maybe he'll say yes. NEIL That's a laugh! If I don't ask him, at least I won't be disobeying him. TODD Yeah, but if he said-- NEIL Jesus, Todd! Whose side are you on? NEIL I mean, I haven't even gotten the part yet. Can't I even enjoy the idea for a little while? NEIL You're coming to the meeting this afternoon? TODD I don't know. Maybe. NEIL Nothing Mr. Keating has to say means shit to you, does it, Todd? TODD W-What is that supposed to mean? NEIL You're in the club! Being in the club means being stirred up by things. You look about as stirred up as a cesspool. TODD S-- You want me out? NEIL No! I want you in, but being in means you gotta do something. Not just say you're in. TODD Well, listen, Neil. I-I appreciate this concern, but I-I'm not like you. All right? You, you, you say thing and people listen. I'm, I'm not like that. NEIL Don't you think you could be? TODD No! I--I, I don't know, but that's not the point. The, the, the point is that there's nothing you can do about it, so you can just butt out. I can take care of myself just fine. All right? NEIL No. TODD What do you mean, "no"? NEIL No. TODD Give me-- Neil. Neil, give that back. NEIL "We are dreaming of a--" Poetry! I'm being chased by Walt Whitman! Okay, okay. CAMERON What are you guys doing? I'm sure-- You see this chemistry- Hey, give me-- Neil, give me-- Don't be immature. Come on. I need my- CHARLIE Give it to me! Give it to me! NEIL Charlie, help me. COACH Okay, everybody on the bus. Let's go, boys. Come on, let's go. On the bus, boys. Now! KEATING Now, devotees may argue that one sport or game is inherently better than another. For me, sport is actually a chance for us to have other human beings push us to excel. I want you all to come over here and take a slip of paper and line up single file. KEATING Mr. Meeks, time to inherit the earth. Mr. Pitts, rise above your name. I want you to hand these out to the boys, one apiece. KEATING You know what to do, Pitts. PITTS "Oh to struggle against great odds. To meet enemies undaunted." KEATING Sounds to me like you're daunted. Say it again like you're undaunted. PITTS "Oh to struggle against great odds. To meet enemies undaunted." KEATING Now go on. KEATING Yes! Next. BOY 1 "To be a sailor of the world, bound for all ports." KEATING Next. Louder! BOY 2 "Oh, I live to be the ruler of life, not a slave." BOY 3 "To mount the scaffolds. To advance to the muzzle of guns with perfect nonchalance." KEATING Come on, Meeks! Listen to the music. MEEKS "To dance, clap hands, exalt, shout, skip, roll on, float on." KEATING Yes! HOPKINS "Oh, to have life henceforth the poem of new joys." KEATING Oh! Boo! Come on, Charlie, let it fill your soul! CHARLIE "To indeed be a god!" NEIL Charlie, I got the part! I'm gonna play Puck! I'm gonna play Puck! MEEKS What did he say? PITTS Puck? NEIL That's the main part. KNOX Great, Neil. NEIL Charlie, I got it! CHARLIE Congratulations. Good for you, Neil. Good for you. NEIL Okay, okay, okay, okay. TODD Neil, how are you gonna do this? NEIL They need a letter of permission from my father and Mr. Nolan. TODD You're not gonna write it. NEIL Oh yes, I am. TODD Oh, Neil. Neil, you're crazy. NEIL Okay. "I am writing to you on behalf of my son Neil Perry." This is great. KNOX "To Chris." BOY 1 Who's Chris? BOY 2 Mmm, Chris. KNOX I see a sweetness in her smile. Blight light shines from her eyes. But life is complete; contentment is mine, Just knowing that... just knowing that she's alive. KNOX Sorry, Captain. It's stupid. KEATING No, no. It's not stupid. It's a good effort. It touched on one of the major themes, love. A major theme not only in poetry, but life. Mr. Hopkins, you were laughing. You're up. HOPKINS "The cat sat on the mat." KEATING Congratulations, Mr. Hopkins. Yours is the first poem to ever have a negative score on the Pritchard scale. We're not laughing at you, we're laughing near you. I don't mind that your poem had a simple theme. Sometimes the most beautiful poetry can be about simple things, like a cat, or a flower or rain. You see, poetry can come from anything with the stuff of revelation in it. Just don't let your poems be ordinary. Now, who's next? KEATING Mr. Anderson, I see you sitting there in agony. Come on, Todd, step up. Let's put you out of your misery. TODD I, I didn't do it. I didn't write a poem. KEATING Mr. Anderson thinks that everything inside of him is worthless and embarrassing. Isn't that right, Todd? Isn't that your worst fear? Well, I think you're wrong. I think you have something inside of you that is worth a great deal. KEATING "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world." W. W. Uncle Walt again. Now, for those of you who don't know, a yawp is a loud cry or yell. Now, Todd, I would like you to give us a demonstration of a barbaric "yawp." Come on. You can't yawp sitting down. Let's go. Come on. Up. KEATING You gotta get in "yawping" stance. TODD A yawp. KEATING No, not just a yawp. A barbaric yawp. TODD Yawp. KEATING Come on, louder. TODD Yawp. KEATING No, that's a mouse. Come on. Louder. TODD Yawp. KEATING Oh, good God, boy. Yell like a man! TODD Yawp! KEATING There it is. You see, you have a barbarian in you, after all. Now, you don't get away that easy. KEATING The picture of Uncle Walt up there. What does he remind you of? Don't think. Answer. Go on. TODD A m-m-madman. KEATING What kind of madman? Don't think about it. Just answer again. TODD A c-crazy madman. KEATING No, you can do better than that. Free up your mind. Use your imagination. Say the first thing that pops into your head, even if it's total gibberish. Go on, go on. TODD Uh, uh, a sweaty-toothed madman. KEATING Good God, boy, there's a poet in you, after all. There, close your eyes. Close your eyes. Close 'em. Now, describe what you see. TODD Uh, I-I close my eyes. KEATING Yes? TODD Uh, and this image floats beside me. KEATING A sweaty-toothed madman? TODD A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare that pounds my brain. KEATING Oh, that's excellent. Now, give him action. Make him do something. TODD H-His hands reach out and choke me. KEATING That's it. Wonderful. Wonderful. TODD And, and all the time he's mumbling. KEATING What's he mumbling? TODD M-Mumbling, "Truth. Truth is like, like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold." KEATING Forget them, forget them. Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket. TODD Y-Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it'll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it will just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream. KEATING Don't you forget this. CHARLIE Attaboy, Pittsie, inhale deeply. MEEKS My dad collects a lot of pipes. CHARLIE Really? Mine's got thirty. PITTS Your parents collect pipes? Oh, that's really interesting. CHARLIE Come on, Knox. Join in. MEEKS Yeah, Knox, we're from the government. We're here to help, man. CHARLIE What's wrong? PITTS It's Chris. Here's a picture of Chris for you. MEEKS Smoke that. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. KNOX That's not funny. CHARLIE Knock it off. Smoke your pipes. MEEKS Neil! NEIL Friend, scholar, Welton men. MEEKS What is that, Neil? PITTS Duh. It's a lamp, Meeks. NEIL No. This is the god of the cave. MEEKS The god of the cave. PITTS Charlie, what are you doing? CHARLIE What do you say we start this meeting? BOY 1 Y-Yeah, just-- I need a light. I just gotta- BOY 2 Got my earplugs? CHARLIE Gentlemen, "Poetrusic" by Charles Dalton. BOY 3 Oh, boy. He's gonna play. BOY:Oh, no. CHARLIE Laughing, crying, tumbling, mumbling. Gotta do more. Gotta be more. CHARLIE Chaos screaming, chaos dreaming. Gotta do more! Gotta be more! MEEKS Wow! PITTS That was nice. That was great. Where did you learn to play like that? CHARLIE My parents made me take the clarinet for years. CAMERON I love the clarinet. CHARLIE I hated it. The saxophone. The saxophone is more sonorous. CAMERON Oh. MEEKS Vocabulary. KNOX I can't take it anymore. If I don't have Chris, I'm gonna kill myself. CHARLIE Knoxious, you've gotta calm down. KNOX No, Charlie. That's just my problem. I've been calm all my life. I'll do something about that. NEIL Where are you going? CHARLIE What are you gonna do? KNOX I'm gonna call her. Yes! CHRIS Hello? KNOX She's gonna hate me. The Danburrys will hate me. My parents will kill me. KNOX All right, goddamn it. You're right. "Carpe diem." Even if it kills me. CHRIS Hello? KNOX Hello, Chris? CHRIS Yes. KNOX Hi. This is Knox Overstreet. CHRIS Oh, yes. Knox. Glad you called. KNOX She's glad I called. CHRIS Listen, Chet's parents are going out of town this weekend, so he's having a party. Would you like to come? KNOX Would I like to come to a party? CHARLIE Yes. Say, yes. CHRIS Friday? Um- KNOX Well, sure. CHRIS About seven? KNOX Okay, great. I-I'll be there, Chris. CHRIS Okay. KNOX Friday night at the Danburrys'. O-Okay. Thank you. CHRIS Okay. Bye. KNOX Thank you. I'll see you. Bye. KNOX Yawp! Can you believe it? She was gonna call me. She invited me to a party with her. CHARLIE At Chet Danburrys' house. KNOX Yeah. CHARLIE Well? KNOX So? CHARLIE So, you don't really think she means you're going with her? KNOX Well, of course not, Charlie. But that's not the point. That's not the point at all. CHARLIE What is the point? KNOX The point, Charlie, is, uh-- CHARLIE Yeah? KNOX -- that she was thinking about me. I've only met her once, and already she's thinking about me. Damn it. It's gonna happen, guys. I feel it. She is going to be mine. Carpe. Carpe! KEATING No grades at stake, gentlemen. Just take a stroll. KEATING There it is. KEATING I don't know, but I've been told-- BOYS I don't know, but I've been told-- KEATING Doing poetry is old-- BOYS Doing poetry is old-- KEATING Left, left, left-right-left. Left, left, left-right-left. Left, halt! KEATING Thank you, gentlemen. If you noticed, everyone started off with their own stride, their own pace. Mr. Pitts, taking his time. He knew he'll get there one day. Mr. Cameron, you could see him thinking, "Is this right? It might be right. It might be right. I know that. Maybe not. I don't know." Mr. Overstreet, driven by deeper force. Yes. We know that. All right. Now, I didn't bring them up here to ridicule them. I brought them up here to illustrate the point of conformity: the difficulty in maintaining your own beliefs in the face of others. Now, those of you -- I see the look in your eyes like, "I would've walked differently." Well, ask yourselves why you were clapping. Now, we all have a great need for acceptance. But you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go, "That's bad." Robert Frost said, "Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Now, I want you to find your own walk right now. Your own way of striding, pacing. Any direction. Anything you want. Whether it's proud, whether it's silly, anything. Gentlemen, the courtyard is yours. KEATING You don't have to perform. Just make it for yourself. Mr. Dalton? You be joining us? CHARLIE Exercising the right not to walk. KEATING Thank you, Mr. Dalton. You just illustrated the point. Swim against the stream. NEIL Todd? Hey. TODD Hey. NEIL What's going on? TODD Nothing. Today's my birthday. NEIL Is today your birthday? Happy birthday. TODD Thanks. NEIL What's you get? TODD My parents gave me this. NEIL Isn't this the same desk set- TODD Yeah, yeah. They gave me the same thing as last year. NEIL Oh. TODD Oh. NEIL Maybe they thought you needed another one. TODD Maybe they weren't thinking about anything at all. Uh, the funny thing is about this is I, I didn't even like it the first time. NEIL Todd, I think you're underestimating the value of this desk set. I mean, who would want a football or a baseball, or- - TODD Or a car. NEIL Or a car if they could have a desk set as wonderful as this one? I mean, if, if I were ever going to buy a, a desk set twice, I would probably buy this one both times. In fact, its, its shape is, it's rather aerodynamic, isn't it? I can feel it. This desk set wants to fly. NEIL Todd? The world's first unmanned flying desk set. TODD Oh, my! NEIL Well, I wouldn't worry. You'll get another one next year. BOYS "To live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life" CAMERON Oh, my God! GLORIA Is this it? CHARLIE Yeah, this is it. Go ahead, go on in. It's my cave. Watch your step. TINA We're not gonna slip, are we? GLORIA Uh-oh. Hi. BOY Hello. GLORIA Hello. CHARLIE Hi, you guys. Meet, uh, Gloria and-- TINA Tina. CHARLIE Tina. This is the pledge class of the Dead Poets Society. BOY:Hello. How do you do? NEIL Hello. GLORIA Hi. Hi. CHARLIE Guys, move. Move. Come on, folks. It's Friday night. Let's get on with the meeting. BOY:Sorry. Excuse-Excuse me. CHARLIE Guys, I have an announcement to make. In keeping with the spirit of passionate experimentation of the Dead Poets, I'm giving up the name Charlie Dalton. From now on, call me Nuwanda. PITTS Nuwanda? NEIL Nuwanda? CHARLIE Okay. KNOX Hello? Hello, Chris? CHRIS Knox! KNOX Hi. CHRIS You made it. Great! Bring anybody? KNOX No. CHRIS No. Ginny Danburry's here. Wait. I have to go find Chet. Why don't you go downstairs where everybody is? CHRIS Make yourself at home. KNOX But I-- GUY 1 Hey, you Mutt Sanders' brother? Bubba, this guy look like Mutt Sanders to you or what? BUBBA You're his brother? KNOX No relation. Never heard of him. Sorry, guys. BUBBA Where's your manners? Mutt Sanders' brother, we don't even offer him a drink. Here. Go have some whiskey, pal. GUY 1 Yeah. KNOX Whoa, I, uh, I don't really drink-- BUBBA To Mutt. GUY 1 To Mutt. KNOX To Mutt. BUBBA Now, how the hell is old Mutt, anyway? GUY 1 Yeah. What's ol' Mutter been up to, huh? KNOX I don't really know Mutt. BUBBA To Mighty Mutt. GUY 1 To Mighty Mutt. KNOX To Mighty Mutt. BUBBA Well, listen, I gotta go find Patsy. Say hello to Mutt for me, okay? KNOX Will do. GUY 1 Yeah. Hell of a guy, your brother Mutt. CHARLIE We gonna have a meeting or what? GLORIA Yeah. If you guys don't have a meeting, how do we know if we wanna join? NEIL Join? CHARLIE "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate." TINA That's so sweet. CHARLIE I made that up just for you. TINA You did? CHARLIE I'll write one for you too, Gloria. She walks in beauty like the night. She walks in beauty like the night. Of cloudless climes and starry skies. All that's best, dark and bright, Meet in her aspect and her eyes. GLORIA That's beautiful. CHARLIE There's plenty more where that came from. KNOX God help me. Carpe diem. BUBBA Chet! Chet! Look! CHET What? BUBBA It's Mutt Sanders' brother. CHET Huh? CHRIS Knox, what-- BUBBA And he's feeling up your girl! CHRIS What are you doing? CHET What the hell are you doing? CHRIS Chet! Chet, don't. KNOX Now, Chet, I know this looks bad, but you've gotta- CHRIS Chet, no! You'll hurt him! No! No! Stop it! Leave him alone! CHET Goddamn! CHRIS Chet, stop it! CHET Bastard! CHRIS Knox, are you all right? CHET Chris, get the hell away from him! CHRIS Chet, you hurt him! CHET Good! KNOX I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. CHRIS It's okay. It-It's okay. CHET Next time I see you, you die. TINA Go ahead, pass it around. MEEKS Me and Pitts are working on a hi-fi system. It shouldn't be that hard to, uh, to put together. PITTS Yeah. Uh, I might be going to Yale. Uh, uh, but, I, I might not. GLORIA Don't you guys miss having girls around here? MEEKS Yeah. CHARLIE That's part of what this club is about. In fact, I'd like to announce I published an article in the school paper, in the name of the Dead Poets. CAMERON What? CHARLIE Demanding girls be admitted to Welton. PITTS You didn't. CHARLIE So we can all stop beating off. NEIL How did you do that? CHARLIE I'm one of the proofers. I slipped the article in. MEEKS Look, uh, it's, it's over now. CHARLIE Why? Nobody knows who we are. CAMERON Well, don't you think they're gonna figure out who wrote it? They're gonna come to you and ask to know what the Dead Poets Society is. Charlie, you had no right to do something like that. CHARLIE It's Nuwanda, Cameron. GLORIA That's right. It's Nuwanda. CHARLIE Are we just playing around out here, or do we mean what we say? For all we do is come together and reach a bunch of poems to each other. What the hell are we doing? NEIL All right, but you still shouldn't have done it, Charlie. This could mean trouble. You don't speak for the club. CHARLIE Hey, would you not worry about your precious little neck? If they catch me, I'll tell them I made it up. MR. NOLAN Sit. MR. NOLAN In this week of Welton's Honor there appeared a profane and unauthorized article. Rather than spend my valuable time ferreting out the guilty persons -- and let me assure you I will find them - - I'm asking any and all students who knows anything about this article to make themselves known here and now. Whoever the guilty persons are, this is your only chance to avoid expulsion from this school. CHARLIE Welton Academy. Hello. Yes, he is. Just a moment. Mr. Nolan, it's for you. It's God. He says we should have girls at Welton. MR. NOLAN Wipe that smirk off your face. If you think, Mr. Dalton, that you're the first to try to get thrown out of this school, think again. Others have had similar notions and have failed just as surely as you will fail. Assume the position. MR. NOLAN Count aloud, Mr. Dalton. CHARLIE One. Two. Three. Four. Five. MR. NOLAN What is this Dead Poets Society? I want names. NEIL You kicked out? CHARLIE No. NEIL So what happened? CHARLIE I'm to turn everybody in, apologize to the school and all will be forgiven. NEIL So, what are you gonna do? Charlie! CHARLIE Damn it, Neil. The name is Nuwanda. MR. NOLAN Excuse me. May we have a word, Mr. Keating? KEATING Certainly. MR. NOLAN This was my first classroom, John. Did you know that? My first desk. KEATING Didn't know you taught, Mr. Nolan. MR. NOLAN English. Oh, long before your time. It was hard giving it up, I can tell you. I'm hearing rumors, John, about some unorthodox teaching methods in your classroom. I'm not saying they've anything to do with the Dalton boy's outburst. But I don't think I have to warn you boys his age are very impressionable. KEATING Well, your reprimand made quite an impression, I'm sure. MR. NOLAN What was going on in the courtyard the other day? KEATING Courtyard? MR. NOLAN Yeah. Boys marching, clapping in unison. KEATING Oh, that. That was an exercise to prove a point. Dangers of conformity. MR. NOLAN Well, John, the curriculum here is set. It's proven it works. If you question, what's to prevent them from doing the same? KEATING I always thought the idea of educating was to learn to think for yourself. MR. NOLAN At these boys' ages? Not on your life! Tradition, John. Discipline. Prepare them for college, and the rest will take care of itself. CHARLIE Creak. He started walking around towards my left. Creak. Creak. "Assume the position, Mr. Dalton." KEATING It's all right, gentlemen. CHARLIE Mr. Keating. KEATING Mr. Dalton. That was a pretty lame stunt you pulled today. CHARLIE You're siding with Mr. Nolan? What about Carpe diem and sucking all the marrow out of life and all that? KEATING Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone. Sure there's a time for daring and there's a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for. CHARLIE But I thought you'd like that. KEATING No. You being expelled from school is not daring to me. It's stupid, 'cause you'll miss some golden opportunities. CHARLIE Yeah. Like what? KEATING Like, if nothing else, the opportunity to attend my classes. Got it, Ace? CHARLIE Aye, aye, Captain. KEATING Keep your head about you. That goes for the lot of you. BOYS Yes, Captain. KEATING Phone call from God. If it had been collect, it wouldn't been daring. CHARLIE All right. Go on, play. DIRECTOR We're trying to rehearse, okay? Start. LYSANDER A good persuasion, therefore hear me, Hermia. DIRECTOR Wait, please. Excitement. I don't hear any excitement about this play. And take her hand. Bring her down the stage and stop. And "There, gentle Hermia." Okay? Try again. BOY 1 What's for dinner? BOY 2 Spaghetti and meatballs! NEIL Save some for me. "But, room, Fairy! Here comes Oberon." NEIL Father. MR. PERRY Neil. NEIL Wait a minute. Before you say anything, please let me ex- MR. PERRY Don't you dare talk back to me! It's bad enough that you've wasted your time with this, this absurd acting business. But you deliberately deceived me! How, how, how did you expect to get away with this? Answer me. Who put you up to it? Was it this new man? This, uh, Mr. Keating? NEIL No. Nobody-- I thought I'd surprise you. I've gotten all A's in every class. MR. PERRY Did you think I wasn't going to find out? "Oh, my niece is in a play with your son," says Mrs. Marks. "No, no, no," I say, "you must be mistaken. My son's not in a play." You made me a liar of me, Neil! Now, tomorrow you go to them and you tell them that you're quitting. NEIL No, I can't. I have the main part. The performance is tomorrow night. MR. PERRY I don't care if the world comes to an end tomorrow night. You are through with that play. Is that clear? Is that clear? NEIL Yes, sir. MR. PERRY I made a great many sacrifices to get you here, Neil, and you will not let me down. NEIL No, sir. KEATING It's open. KEATING Neil, what's up? NEIL Can I speak to you a minute? KEATING Certainly. Sit down. NEIL I'm sorry. Here. KEATING Excuse me. Get you some tea? NEIL Tea. Sure. KEATING Like some milk or sugar in that? NEIL No, thanks. NEIL Gosh, they don't give you much room around here. KEATING No, it's part of the monastic oath. They don't want worldly things distracting me from my teaching. NEIL She's pretty. KEATING She's also in London. Makes it a little difficult. NEIL How can you stand it? KEATING Stand what? NEIL You can go anywhere. You can do anything. How can you stand being here? KEATING 'Cause I love teaching. I don't wanna be anywhere else. KEATING What's up? NEIL I just talked to my father. He's making me quit the play at Henley Hall. Acting's everything to me. I-- But he doesn't know. He-- I can see his point. We're not a rich family like Charlie's, and we-- But he's planning the rest of my life for me, and I-- H-He's never asked me what I want. KEATING Have you ever told your father what you just told me? About your passion for acting. You ever show him that? NEIL I can't. KEATING Why not? NEIL I can't talk to him this way. KEATING Then you're acting for him, too. You're playing the part of the dutiful son. I know this sounds impossible, but you have to talk to him. You have to show him who you are, what your heart is. NEIL I know what he'll say. He'll tell me that acting's a whim, and I should forget it. That how they're counting on me. He'll just tell me to put it out of my mind, "for my own good." KEATING You are not an indentured servant. If it's not a whim for you, you prove it to him by your conviction and your passion. You show him that And if he still doesn't believe you, well, by then you'll be out of school and you can do anything you want. NEIL No. What about the play? The show's tomorrow night. KEATING Well, you have to talk to him before tomorrow night. NEIL Isn't there an easier way? KEATING No. NEIL I'm trapped. KEATING No, you're not. KNOX Chris! KNOX Chris Noel. Do you know where she is? GIRL Um, I think she's in room 111. KNOX Thanks. KNOX Excuse me. Chris. CHRIS Knox, what are you doing here? KNOX I came to apologize for the other night. I brought you these and a poem I wrote for you. CHRIS Knox, don't you know that, if Chet finds you here he'll kill you? KNOX I can't care. I love you, Chris. CHRIS Knox, you're crazy. KNOX Look, I acted like a jerk and I know it. Please, accept these. Please. CHRIS No. No-- I, I can't. Forget it. CHRIS Knox, I don't believe this. KNOX All I'm asking you to do is listen. The heavens made a girl named Chris With hair and skin of gold. To touch her would be paradise. CHARLIE Get out of here. Cameron, you fool. Hey, how'd it go? Did you read it to her? KNOX Yeah. PITTS What'd she say? KNOX Nothing. CHARLIE Nothing. What do you mean, nothing? KNOX Nothing. But I did it. CHARLIE What did she say? I know she had to say something. PITTS Come here, Knox. KNOX Seize the day! KEATING Did you talk to your father? NEIL Uh, he didn't like it one bit, but at least he's letting me stay in the play. He won't be able to make, make it. He's in Chicago. But, uh, I think he's gonna let me stay with acting. KEATING Really? You told him what you told me? NEIL Yeah. He wasn't happy. But he'll be gone at least four days. I don't think he'll make the show, but I think he'll let me stay with it. "Keep up the school work." Thanks. PITTS Beautiful baby. MEEKS Beautiful baby. Henley Hall, here I come. CAMERON Excuse me, just a moment. Yes. You're so cute. Come on, Todd. I'm trying to fix this. TODD Come on, Nuwanda. You're gonna miss Neil's entrance. PITTS He said something about getting red before we left. CAMERON Getting red? What does that mean? PITTS I, uh-- Well, you know Charlie. TODD So, Charlie, what's this "getting red" bit? TODD W-What is that? CHARLIE It's an Indian warrior symbol for virility. Makes me feel potent, like it can drive girls crazy. TODD Oh, come on, Charlie. The girls are waiting. KNOX Chris. KNOX What are you doing here? KEATING Gentlemen, let's go. KNOX Go ahead, guys. I'll catch up. CHARLIE Yeah, come on, guys. KNOX Chris, you can't be in here. I-If they catch you, we're both gonna be in big trouble. CHRIS Oh, but it's fine-- CHRIS It's fine for you to come barging into my school and make a complete fool out of me? KNOX I don't mean to make a fool out of you. CHRIS Well, you did. Chet found out. And it took everything I could do to keep him from coming here and killing you. Knox, you have got to stop this stuff. KNOX I can't, Chris. I love you. CHRIS Knox, you say that over and over. You don't, you don't even know me. KEATING Will you be joining us, Mr. Overstreet? KNOX Go ahead, Captain. I'll walk. CHRIS Knox, Knox, it just so happens that I could care less about you? KNOX Then you wouldn't be here warning me about Chet. CHRIS I have to go. I'm gonna be late for the play. KNOX Are you going with him? CHRIS Chet? To a play? Are you kidding? KNOX Then come with me. CHRIS Knox, you are so infuriating. KNOX Come on, Chris. Just give me one chance. If you don't like me after tonight, I'll stay away forever. CHRIS Uh-huh. KNOX I promise. Dead Poets Honor. You come with me tonight. And then, if you don't want to see me again, I swear I'll bow out. CHRIS You know what would happen if Chet found out? KNOX He won't know anything. We'll sit in the back and sneak away as soon as it's over. CHRIS And I suppose you would promise that this would be the end of it. KNOX Dead Poets Honor. CHRIS What is that? KNOX My word. CHRIS You are so infuriating. CHARLIE Hey, there he is! Hey, hey. KEATING Shh, boys. FAIRY Either I mistake your shape and making quite, Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite Call'd Robin Goodfellow: PUCK Thou speak'st aright; I am that merry wanderer of the night. I jest to Oberon and make him smile When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, Neighing in likeness of a filly foal: And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl, In very likeness of a roasted crab, And when she drinks, against her lips I bob And on her wither'd dewlap pour the ale. The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale, CHARLIE He's good. He's really good. PUCK Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me; Then slip I from her bum, down topples she, And "tailor" cries, and falls into a cough; And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh, And waxen in their mirth and neeze and swear A merrier hour was never wasted there. But, room, Fairy! here comes Oberon. FAIRY And here my mistress. Would that he were gone! LYSANDER Then by your side no bed-room me deny; For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie HERMIA Lysander riddles very prettily: Now much beshrew my manners and my pride, If Hermia meant to say Lysander lied. But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy Lie further off; in human modesty, Such separation as may well be said Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid, and, good night, sweet friend: Thy love ne'er alter till thy sweet life end! LYSANDER Amen, amen, to that fair prayer, say I; DIRECTOR Neil. That's your cue, Neil. Come on, Neil. Here's your crown. Let's go. PUCK If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber'd here While these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend: If you pardon, we will mend: And, as I am an honest Puck, If we have unearned luck Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue, We will make amends ere long; Else the Puck a liar call; So, good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends. CHARLIE Yawp! KNOX Yeah, Neil! MR. PERRY Excuse me, I'm Neil's father. I need to see him. DIRECTOR Your father. He's- MAN What did you think? WO MAN Really I thought you were all just wonderful! MR. PERRY Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me. CHARLIE Neil, Neil, you were great. NEIL I can't, guys. TODD Neil! Neil! KEATING Neil. Neil. You have the gift. What a performance You left even me speechless. You have to stay with- MR. PERRY Get in the car. Keating, you stay away from my son. CHARLIE Neil! Neil! Mr. Perry, come on. KEATING Don't make it any worse than it is. CHARLIE Is it okay if we walk back? Captain? Knox. MR. PERRY We're trying very hard to understand why it is that you insist on defying us. Whatever the reason, we're not gonna let you ruin your life. Tomorrow I'm withdrawing you from Welton and enrolling you in Braden Military School. You're going to Harvard and you're gonna be a doctor. NEIL But that's ten more years. Father, that's a lifetime! MR. PERRY Oh, stop it. Don't be so dramatic. You make it sound like a prison term. You don't understand, Neil. You have opportunities that I never even dreamt of and I am not going to let you waste them. NEIL I've got to tell you what I feel. MRS. PERRY We've been so worried about-- MR. PERRY What? What? Tell me what you feel. What is it? MR. PERRY Is it more of this, this acting business? Because you can forget that. What? NEIL Nothing. MR. PERRY Nothing. Well, then, let's go to bed. NEIL I was good. I was really good. MRS. PERRY Go on, get some sleep. MR. PERRY It's all right. It's going to be all right. MR. PERRY What was that? MRS. PERRY What? MR. PERRY That sound. MRS. PERRY What sound? Tom? MRS. PERRY What is it? What's wrong? MR. PERRY Neil. MRS. PERRY Tom, what is it? What's wrong? Neil? MR. PERRY Neil? MRS. PERRY I'll look outside. Neil? MR. PERRY No! MR. PERRY Oh, Neil! Oh, my God! MRS. PERRY Oh! No! MR. PERRY Oh, my son! MRS. PERRY He's all right. MR. PERRY My son! My poor son! MRS. PERRY He's all right! He's all right! He's all right! He's all right! He's all right! He's all right! MR. PERRY Stop it! Stop it! Stop it. CHARLIE Todd? Todd. TODD Oh, Charlie. TODD What is it? CHARLIE Neil's dead. TODD It's so beautiful. CHARLIE Todd. It's okay, Todd. PITTS Calm down. CHARLIE It's all right, Todd. PITTS Todd, it's okay. It's okay, Todd. CHARLIE It's all right. Now, listen. TODD He wouldn't-- He wouldn't have done it. MEEKS You can't explain it, Todd. TODD It was his father! CHARLIE No! TODD He wouldn't have left us. If he knew-- He wouldn't have. His dad was-- his, his father did it. CHARLIE Todd. TODD His father killed him. MEEKS You can't explain it, Todd. MEEKS Todd! CHARLIE Leave him be. BOYS All my life Thy light shall surely follow me And in God's house forevermore My dwelling place shall be Amen MR. NOLAN The death of Neil Perry is a tragedy. He was a fine student. One of Welton's best. And he will be missed. We've contacted each of your parents to explain the situation. Naturally, they're all quite concerned. At the request of Neil's family, I intend to conduct a thorough inquiry into this matter. Your complete cooperation is expected. CHARLIE You told him about this meeting? PITTS Twice. CHARLIE That's it, guys. We're all fried. PITTS How do you mean? CHARLIE Cameron's a fink. He's in Nolan's office right now, finking. PITTS About what? CHARLIE The club, Pissie. Think about it. The board of directors, the trustees and Mr. Nolan. Do you think for one moment they're gonna let this thing just blow over? Schools go down because of things like this. They need a scapegoat. CAMERON What's going on, guys? CHARLIE You finked, didn't you, Cameron? CAMERON Finked? I didn't know what the hell you're talking about. CHARLIE You told Nolan everything about the club is what I'm talking about. CAMERON Look, in case you hadn't heard, Dalton, there's something called an honor code at this school, all right? If a teacher asks you a question, you tell the truth or you're expelled. CHARLIE You little punk! MEEKS Charlie! CHARLIE He's a rat! He's in it up to his eyes, so he rattled to save himself. KNOX Don't touch him, Charlie. You do and you're out. CHARLIE I'm out anyway! KNOX You don't know that, not yet. CAMERON He's right there, Charlie. And if you guys are smart, you will do exactly what I did and cooperate. They're not after us. We're the victims. Us and Neil. CHARLIE What's that mean? Who are they after? CAMERON Why, Mr. Keating, of course. The "Captain" himself. I mean, you guys didn't really think he could avoid responsibility, did you? CHARLIE Mr. Keating responsible for Neil? Is that what they're saying? CAMERON Well, who else do you think, dumb ass? The administration? Mr. Perry? Mr. Keating put us up to all this crap, didn't he? If he wasn't for Mr. Keating, Neil would be cozied up in his room right now, studying his chemistry and dreaming of being called doctor. TODD That is not true, Cameron. You know that. He didn't put us to anything. Neil loved acting. CAMERON Believe what you want, but I say let Keating fry. I mean, why ruin our lives? KNOX Charlie. CAMERON You just signed your expulsion papers, Nuwanda. CAMERON And if the rest of you are smart, you'll do exactly what I did. They know everything anyway. You can't save Keating, but you can save yourselves. HABER Knox Overstreet. TODD Meeks? MEEKS Go away. I have to study. TODD What happened to Nuwanda? MEEKS Expelled. TODD What'd you tell 'em? MEEKS Nothing they didn't already know. HABER Todd Anderson. MR. ANDERSON Hello, son. MRS. ANDERSON Hello, darling. TODD Mom. MR. NOLAN Have a seat, Mr. Anderson. MR. NOLAN Mr. Anderson, I think we've pretty well put together what's happened here. You do admit to being a part of this Dead Poets Society? MR. ANDERSON Answer him, Todd. TODD Yes, sir. MR. NOLAN I have here a detailed description of what occurred at your meetings. It describes how your teacher, Mr. Keating, encouraged you boys to organize this club and to use it as a source of inspiration for reckless and self- indulgent behavior. It describes how Mr. Keating, both in and out of the classroom, encouraged Neil Perry to follow his obsession with acting when he knew all along it was against the explicit order of Neil's parents. It was Mr. Keating's blatant abuse of his position as teacher that led directly to Neil Perry's death. MR. NOLAN Read that document carefully, Todd. Very carefully. MR. NOLAN If you've nothing to add or amend, sign it. TODD What's gonna happen to Mr. Keating? MR. ANDERSON I've had enough. Sign the paper, Todd. McALLISTER Grass is gramen or herba. Lapis is stone. The entire building is aedificium. MR. NOLAN Sit. I'll be teaching this class through exams. We'll find a permanent English teacher during the break. Who will tell me where you are in the Pritchard textbook? MR. NOLAN Mr. Anderson. TODD Uh, in the, in the Pr- MR. NOLAN I can't hear you, Mr. Anderson. TODD In the, in the, in the Pritchard? MR. NOLAN Kindly inform me, Mr. Cameron. CAMERON We skipped around a lot, sir. We covered the Romantics and some of the chapters on Post Civil War literature. MR. NOLAN What about the Realists? CAMERON I believe we skipped most of that, sir. MR. NOLAN All right, then, we'll start over. What is poetry? MR. NOLAN Come. KEATING Excuse me. I came for my personals. Should I come back after class? MR. NOLAN Get them now, Mr. Keating. MR. NOLAN Gentlemen, turn to page 21 of the introduction. Mr. Cameron, read aloud the excellent essay by Dr. Pritchard on "Understanding Poetry." CAMERON That page has been ripped out, sir. MR. NOLAN Well, borrow somebody else's book. CAMERON They're all ripped out, sir. MR. NOLAN What do you mean, they're all ripped out? CAMERON Sir, we, uh- MR. NOLAN Never mind. MR. NOLAN Read! CAMERON "Understanding Poetry by Dr. J Evans Pritchard, Ph.D. To fully understand poetry, we must first be fluent with its meter, rhyme and figures of speech, then ask two questions: 1) How artfully has the objective of the poem been rendered and 2)..." CAMERON "... How important is that objective? Question 1 rates the poem's perfection; question 2 rates its importance. And once these questions have been answered, determining the poem's greatness becomes a relatively simple matter. If the poem's score for perfection is plotted on the horizontal of a graph--" TODD Mr. Keating! They made everybody sign it. MR. NOLAN Quiet, Mr. Anderson. TODD You gotta believe me. It's true. KEATING I do believe you, Todd. MR. NOLAN Leave, Mr. Keating. TODD But it wasn't his fault! MR. NOLAN Sit down, Mr. Anderson! One more outburst from you or anyone else, and you're out of this school! Leave, Mr. Keating. I said leave, Mr. Keating. TODD O Captain! My Captain! MR. NOLAN Sit down, Mr. Anderson! MR. NOLAN Do you hear me? Sit down! Sit down! This is your final warning, Anderson. How dare you? Do you hear me? KNOX O Captain! My Captain! MR. NOLAN Mr. Overstreet, I warn you! Sit down! MR. NOLAN Sit down! Sit down. All of you. I want you seated. Sit down. Leave, Mr. Keating. MR. NOLAN All of you, down. I want you seated. Do you hear me? MR. NOLAN Sit down! KEATING Thank you, boys. Thank you.