Analysis of Neil Perry


"Carpe diem boys, seize the day!" Robin Williams' character exclaims in
the film "Dead Poets Society". Williams portrays passionate English
professor John Keating, whose lessons go far beyond the classroom.
Keating teaches his students to follow their own hearts and minds
instead of the conformist ideals taught at their strict boarding
school. Several of Keating's students take his lessons to heart and
resurrect the Dead Poets Society, a secret club that meets late at
night to read and discuss poetry. "Carpe Diem", the theme of the
movie, soon becomes a popular maxim on campus, and the students start
applying it to their every day lives. Charlie changes his name to
Nuwanda and risks expulsion repeatedly. Knox finds the girl of his
dreams and tries to woo for from her boyfriend. Todd is extremely shy,
but tries to come out of his shell. Then there is Neil, who decides to
play the part of Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"-against the wishes
of his father, who ta! kes this theme to heart and the effect it had
on his life ultimately cost him his life. Neil is a non-conformist.
He does not want anything to do with the plans his father has set forth
for him, which is to become a doctor. Instead, Neil wants to be his
own person and wants to do what he wants. Reluctantly, though, he
follows his father's wishes. He is afraid to stand up to his father
and take control of his own life. For example, Neil quits the school
annual, something Neil wanted to do just because his father told him
so. As the movie goes on, Neil starts to take control of his life,
with the help of his English professor John Keating, who imbeds the
phrase "Carpe Diem" into the minds of his students. Neil decides to
audition for the play "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Neil receives the
part as Puck, one of the main characters. Neil finally feels he is
taking control of his own life. He decides he wants to be an actor. A
day before the play was to open, Neil's father comes to visit him. Mr.
Perry tells Neil to quit the play and concentrate on his studies. Neil
tries to talk to his father but with no avail. Neil does the play any
way, but is caught by hid father, to tell Neil he is off to military
school. Neil fed up with his father controlling his life, commits
suicide. Neil's relationship with his father is complex in that his
father puts too much pressure on Neil. His father's unwillingness to
see things through his perspective caused Neil to fell like he had no
other option but to kill himself. Suicide was his way of trying to
gain control and stand up to his father, to break free from his
father's control. But in trying to gain control of his life, he ended
up sacrificing his life. Neil's tragic death reminds us to seize each
day and cherish them dearly. Neil wanted so much to control his own
life and be out of the grasp of his father. He did the only logical
thing he thought possible to control his life, he committed suicide.
Every day opportunities await us and we must decide whether to take the
chance of play it safe. It is this, the true meaning of "Carpe Diem".


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