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".