Dead Poets Society


directed by
Peter Weir
Written by Tom Schulman

Travesty, Horror, Decadence, Excrement   [Scene runs from 6:20-9:40, track 3]

[Scene opens as a new school year at prestigious Welton Academy begins. Several students are chatting in the room of Neil Perry and Todd Anderson. Todd is new to Welton Academy, the four pillars of which are Tradition, Honor, Dedication and Excellence.]

CHARLIE: [to Neil] Rumor has it, you did summer school.

NEIL: Yep. Chemistry. My father thought I should get ahead. How was your summer, slick?

CHARLIE: Keen. [turning to another student] Meeks, door, closed.

MEEKS: Yes, sir.

CHARLIE: Gentlemen, what are the four pillars?

ALL: Travesty, Horror, Decadence, Excrement.

CHARLIE: OK, study group. Meeks aced Latin. I didn't quite flunk English. So if you want, we've got our study group.

NEIL: Sure, Cameron asked me too. Anyone mind including him?

CHARLIE: Hum, what's his specialty, bootlicking?

NEIL: He's your roommate.

CHARLIE: That's not my fault.

MEEKS: [addressing Todd for the first time] I'm sorry. My name is Stephen Meeks.

NEIL: Oh, this is Todd Anderson.

MEEKS: Nice to meet you.

TODD: 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. Oh, well, welcome to Hellton. It's every bit as tough as they say, unless you're a genius like Meeks.

MEEKS: He flatters me. That's why I help him with Latin.

CHARLIE: And English, and trig.

[Knocking at the door. Neil's father, Mr. Perry enters]

NEIL: It's open. [Neil's father enters.] Father, I thought you'd gone.

FATHER: Keep your seats fellas, keep your seats. Neil, I've just spoken to Mr. Noland. I think that you're taking too many extracurricular activities this semester, and I've decided that you should drop the school annual.

NEIL: But, I'm the assistant editor this year.

FATHER: I'm sorry.

NEIL: But, Father, I can't. It wouldn't be fair.

FATHER: Fellas, would you excuse us for a moment?

[Neil and his father leave the room.]

FATHER: Don't you every dispute me in public you understand?

NEIL: Father, I wasn't.

FATHER: After you finish 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.

FATHER: You know how much this means to your mother, don't you?

NEIL: Yes, sir. You know me, always taking on too much.

FATHER: Well, listen, you need anything, you let us know.

NEIL: Yes, sir.

[Neil's father departs and the other boys join Neil in the hallway.]

CHARLIE: Why doesn't he let you do what you want?

KNOX: Yeah, Neil. Tell him off. It couldn't get any worse.

NEIL: That's rich. Like you guys tell your parents off? Mr. Future Lawyer and Mr. Future Banker?

CHARLIE: Okay, so I don't like it anymore than you do.

NEIL: Well, just don't tell me how to talk to my father. You guys are the same way.

CHARLIE: All right, all right. So what are you going to do?

NEIL: What I have to do? I'm going to 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, 8:00 in my room?

NEIL: Yes.

MEEKS: Todd, you're welcome to join us.

KNOX: Yeah, come along Pal.

TODD: Thanks.

Captain Keating     [Scene runs from 12:20-16:40, track 4]

[Mr. Keating, an alumnus of Welton, has just joined the faculty as an English teacher. In their first meeting, Mr. Keating has taken the boys to Welton's trophy cases. They are looking at the photographs and awards of past Welton classes.]

KEATING: "Oh Captain, My Captain." Who knows where that comes from? Anybody?

[Todd looks up as if he knows the answer, but says nothing.]

KEATING: Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can call me "Mr. Keating." Or, if you're slightly more daring, "Oh Captain, My Captain."

[The students laugh slightly.]

KEATING: Now let me dispel a few rumors so they don't fester into facts. Yes, I too attended Hell-ton and 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.

[The boys laugh once again, while Cameron, obviously trying to write all this down, looks around confusedly. Keating looks down at papers in his hand.]

KEATING: Now, Mr. Pitts. That's a rather unfortunate name. Mr. Pitts, where are you?

[Pitts raises his hand while everyone around him snickers.]

KEATING: Mr. Pitts, would you open your hymnal to page 542 and 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 flower 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 immediately puts his hand up.]

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!

[Keating slams his hand down on an imaginary buzzer.]

KEATING: 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 going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die.

[Keating turns towards the trophy cases, filled with trophies, footballs, and team pictures.]

KEATING: Now 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. I don't think you've really looked at them.

[The students slowly gather round the cases and Keating moves behind 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, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in.

[The boys lean in and Keating hovers over Cameron's shoulder.]

KEATING: [whispering in a gruff voice] Carpe.

[Cameron looks over his shoulder with an aggravated expression on his face.]

KEATING: Hear it? Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys! Make your lives extraordinary.

[The boys stare at the faces in the cabinet in silence.]

A Realist and a Romantic     [Scene runs from 26:47-28:02, track 6]

[The cafeteria is filled with students and teachers standing before the tables saying grace. Mr. Keating is seated next to the boys' Latin teacher, Mr. McAllister. Earlier in the day, Mr. McAllister had come to Mr. Keating's classroom in response to a commotion. To Mr. McAllister's distress, he found the boys tearing the introductory essay by Mr. Pritchard out of their English textbooks; to his surprise, he discovered that the boys were doing so at Mr. Keating's direction.]

ALL: For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly grateful. Amen.

[All sit.]

McALLISTER: Quite an interesting class you gave today, Mr. Keating.

KEATING: I'm sorry if I shocked you, Mr. McAllister.

McALLISTER: Oh, there's no need to apologize. It was very fascinating, misguided though it was.

KEATING: You think so?

McALLISTER: You take a big risk by encouraging them to be artists, John. When they realize they're not Rembrandts, Shakespeares or Mozarts, they'll hate you for it.

KEATING: We're not talking artists, George, we're talking free thinkers.

McALLISTER: Free thinkers at seventeen?

KEATING: Funny, I never pegged you as a cynic.

McALLISTER: [Considering] 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 man be truly free. 'twas always thus, and always thus will be."

McALLISTER: Tennyson?

KEATING: No, Keating.

[Keating winks and Mr. McAllister can't help but laugh.]

Dead Poets

This scene is in two parts: Keating on the Dead Poets Society and the reconstituted Society's first meeting

[Part 1 runs from 29:20 to 30:20, track 6]

[The boys find an old annual from the time during which Keating attended Welton. They discover that Mr. Keating belonged to an organization called "The Dead Poets Society." They bring him the annual and ask him about the Dead Poets Society.]

KEATING: Gentlemen, can you keep a secret?

NEIL: Sure.

[The other boys crouch down around Keating.]

KEATING: The Dead Poets were dedicated to sucking the marrow out of life. That's a phrase from Thoreau that we'd invoke at the beginning of each meeting. You see we'd gather at the old Indian cave and take turns reading from Thoreau, Whitman, Shelley; 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 trip down amnesia lane. Burn that, especially my picture.

[Keating hands the annual back and walks away, whistling once again. Neil remains crouched.]

[Part 2 runs from 36:24 to 37:07, track 7]

[Neil stands before the others with the book in hand, and takes a drag on a cigarette. The boys are in a sort of cave and have a book of poetry -- a book once used by the Dead Poets Society of Keating's time, which Keating has given to Neil.]

NEIL: All right already, forget the fire. Let's go gentlemen. I hereby reconvene the Dead Poets Society.

[The boys cheer.]

NEIL: Welton chapter. The meetings will be conducted by myself and the other new initiates now present. Todd Anderson, because he prefers not to read, will keep minutes of the meetings. 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.

[Several boys whistle softly in reaction to Thoreau's words.]

NEIL: And Keating's marked a bunch of other pages.

[Neil begins flipping through the book.]

Being in the Club Means…. You've got to Do Something

[Scene runs from 45:30 to 48:50, track 9]

[Todd is on his bed trying to write a poem for Mr. Keating's class. The door opens and Todd turns his writing pad over as Neil enters the room laughing. Neil crouches down next to Todd's bed and tosses a sheet of paper in Todd's lap.]

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 that?

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 pounds on the bed and then pulls a blanket off his bed, wearing it like a cloak.]

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.

[Neil grabs a handful of papers off Todd's bed and tosses them into the air.]

NEIL: … 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: Bull****! 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!

[Neil tosses the blanket back onto his bed.]

NEIL: 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?

[Todd says nothing. Neil looks at him for a moment and then takes the flyer back from Todd. He walks over to the window, his excitement gone.]

NEIL: I mean, I haven't even gotten the part yet! Can't I even enjoy the idea for a little while?

[Once again, Todd says nothing. After a moment, Neil sits on the heater and Todd returns to his poem.]

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: Wha-- 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.

[Neil gets up from the window and stands over Todd.]

TODD: So-- 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 things 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?


TODD: What do you mean, "no"?

[A smile comes to Neil's face.]


[Neil grabs Todd's notebook of poetry and runs across the room with it. Todd leaps up after him.]

TODD: Give me -- Neil. Neil, give that back!

[The two begin racing in circles around the room, jumping from bed to bed as Todd tries to grab his poem back.]

NEIL: [Neil reads] "We are dreaming of a--" Poetry! I'm being chased by Walt Whitman! Okay, okay.

[Meeks and Charlie and the other boys enter and join in.]

Our own words and Yawps    [Scene runs from 53:38 to 56:38, track 11]

[Knox stands at the front of the Keating's classroom with his poem in hand.]

KNOX: "To Chris."

[Charlie looks up from his desk with a grin.]

BOY 1: Who's Chris?

BOY 2: Mmm, Chris.

KNOX: "I see a sweetness in her smile.
Bright light shines from her eyes.
But life is complete; contentment is mine,
Just knowing that--

[Several students begin to snicker. Knox pauses]

KNOX: --just knowing that she's alive."

[Knox crumples his poem and walks back to his desk.]

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 slowly walks to the front of the class and unfolds his piece of paper.]

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 approaches Todd's desk. Todd is distressed. He has worked very hard on his poem, but he is too afraid to read it. ]

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 walks up to the blackboard and begins to write.]

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.

[Todd reluctantly stands and follows Keating to the front.]

KEATING: You gotta get in "yawping" stance.

TODD: A yawp?

KEATING: No, not just a yawp. A barbaric yawp.

TODD: [quietly] Yawp.

KEATING: Come on, louder.

TODD: [quietly] Yawp.

KEATING: No, that's a mouse. Come on. Louder.

TODD: Yawp.

KEATING: Oh, good God, boy. Yell like a man!

TODD: [shouting] Yawp!

KEATING: There it is. You see, you have a barbarian in you, after all.

A Different Drummer   [Scene runs from 1:03:55 to 1:05:50, track 12]

[The students are standing in a courtyard at Welton. Cameron, Pitts, and Knox are walking in a circle. Keating watches as they go around.]

KEATING: No grades at stake, gentlemen. Just take a stroll.

[After a few moments, the three boys begin to march to the same beat.]

KEATING: There it is.

[The other boys start clapping to the rhythm of their steps.]

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--

BOY: Doing poetry is old--

[Mr. Nolan looks out at them from his office as Keating joins the boys and begins marching with them.]

KEATING: Left, left, left-right-left. Left, left,left-right-left. Left, halt!

[The boys come to a halt.]

KEATING: Thank you, gentlemen. If you noticed, everyone started off with their own stride, their own pace.

[Keating begins walking very slowly.]

KEATING: 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."

[boys laugh]

KEATING: 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 baaaaad." 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.

[The students begin walking about, some walking casually, others making up silly walks.]

KEATING: You don't have to perform. Just make it for yourself.

[Keating notices that Charlie is still leaning up against one of the pillars.]

KEATING: Mr. Dalton? Will 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.

[Headmaster Nolan moves away from the window where he had been watching them.]

Deception Revealed   [Scene runs from 1:24:40 to 1:26:44, track 15]

[Knowing that his father would not approve of his desire to act, nor grant permission for him to appear in a performance of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Neil forges a letter of permission from his father to Mr. Nolan. Mr. Perry discovers Neil's deception and forbids him to continue with the play. Neil has the part of Puck, a leading role. Neil goes to see Mr. Keating in his rooms at night. Keating is seated at his desk. He is writing a letter and occasionally looks up at the framed photo on his desk of a woman playing the cello.]

[Keating gives Neil a cup of tea and they return to their seats. Neil looks at the photo on the desk.]

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 want to be anywhere else. 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.

[A tear falls down Neil's cheek and he wipes it away.]

NEIL: No. What about the play? The show is tomorrow night.

KEATING Well, you have to talk to him before tomorrow night.

NEIL: Isn't there an easier way?


NEIL: I'm trapped.

KEATING No, you're not.

Mr. Keating, responsible?   [Scene runs from 1:50:59 to 1:56:00, tracks 20 and 21]

[Neil does not speak to his father as Mr. Keating advises. Knowing such a conversation would be fruitless, he chooses rather to go ahead and continue the deception. He tells Mr. Keating that he has spoken with his father, and that while the elder Mr. Perry was unhappy, he granted Neil permission to perform. When the show is held, Neil gives an excellent performance as Puck, but Mr. Perry is in the audience and greatly displeased by Neil's defiance. Mr. Perry takes Neil home with him, and tells Keating to stay away from his son. At their home, Mr. Perry tells Neil that he will be withdrawn from Welton and enrolled military school in the morning. Distressed, and feeling trapped, Neil commits suicide with his father's revolver in the early hours of the morning.]

[The boys are gathered in Assembly Hall where a service is going on. The boys have joined the other students in a hymn. Charlie is the only one not singing. He stares off blankly.]

BOYS [singing]: All my life
                       Thy light shall surely follow me
                       And in God's house forevermore
                       My dwelling place shall be

[The boys, except Cameron, are sitting about the cluttered storage room waiting. Charlie lights a cigarette.]

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, Pittsie. Think about it. The board of directors, the trustees and Mr. Nolan. Do you think for one moment they're going to let this thing just blow over? Schools go down because of things like this. They need a scapegoat.

[The door opens. All the boys except Charlie hurry to put their cigarettes out and wave the smoke away. A light comes on and Cameron enters.]

CAMERON: What's going on, guys?

CHARLIE: You finked, didn't you, Cameron?

[Charlie gets up and approaches Cameron, tossing his cigarette away.]

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--

[Charlie lunges at Cameron but Knox and Meeks hold him back.]

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 ***? 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?

[Charlie lunges at Cameron again and punches him in the face. Cameron falls to the floor as the boys pull Charlie away. Cameron lifts a hand to his bloody nose.]

CAMERON: You just signed your expulsion papers, Nuwanda.

[Cameron calls Charlie by the nickname he's adopted for himself under the influence of Mr. Keating. Cameron rises to his feet.]

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.

[Cameron walks away, closing the door behind him.]

Goodbye, Captain    [Scene runs from 2:00:00 to 2:05:19, track 22]

[The boys, with the exception of Cameron, have each signed a statement acknowledging their membership in the Dead Poets Society, and Mr. Keating's part in encouraging them collectively, and Neil specifically. Cameron has indeed been expelled. The students are now at their desks in Mr. Keating's classroom. Mr. Nolan enters and they all stand as he walks to the front of the room.]


[all sit]

MR. NOLAN: 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?

[There is a knock at the classroom door.]

MR. NOLAN: Come.

[The students look back as the door opens. They quickly turn away when they see it is Keating.]

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."

[Todd slowly closes his book. Keating opens the door to the tiny room off the classroom.]

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 takes his own book over to Cameron's desk and then slaps the open page.]

MR. NOLAN: Read!

[As Cameron begins to read, Keating looks out at Todd as he puts his scarf on. Todd looks at him for a moment and then glances away.]

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)..."

[The door squeaks as Keating shuts it behind him. Cameron pauses.]

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--"

[Keating passes by Todd and the others and gets to the back of the classroom before Todd leaps up from his seat and turns to face him.]

TODD: Mr. Keating! They made everybody sign it.

[Mr. Nolan gets up from his desk and approaches Todd.]

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!

[Todd reluctantly returns to his seat.]

MR. NOLAN: One more outburst from you or anyone else, and you're out of this school! Leave, Mr. Keating.

[Keating hesitates at the back of the classroom.]

MR. NOLAN: I said leave, Mr. Keating.

[Keating slowly turns and heads to the door. As he opens it, Todd, stands upon his desk and turns to Keating.]

TODD: O Captain! My Captain!

MR. NOLAN: Sit down, Mr. Anderson!

[Keating pauses at the door and looks back at Todd on his desk.]

MR. NOLAN: Do you hear me? Sit down! Sit down! This is your final warning, Anderson. How dare you? Do you hear me?

[After a moment of indecision, Knox climbs up onto his desk.]

KNOX: O Captain! My Captain!

MR. NOLAN: Mr. Overstreet, I warn you! Sit down!

[Pitts climbs up onto his desk, followed by several others, including Meeks.]

MR. NOLAN: Sit down! Sit down. All of you. I want you seated. Sit down. Leave, Mr. Keating.

[More students stand on their desks until half the class is standing.]

MR. NOLAN: All of you, down. I want you seated. Do you hear me?

MR. NOLAN: Sit down!

[Keating stands in the doorway, staring up at the boys in wonder. A smile comes to his face.]

KEATING: Thank you, boys. Thank you.

Dead Poets Questions — Guide to Unit 3 — Back to Unit 3