Mar 12 2008
Any list of poetry in the movies has to include “Dead Poets Society.”
|Dead Poets Society (DVD)|
As much as being a movie about poetry, Dead Poets Society is a movie about how to live life, how to grow into a full human being, rather than simply meet societal expectations and then die.
Here’s a quote from the movie I really like:
“I’ve a little secret for you. Huddle up. Huddle up! . . . 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. Now 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 questions 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?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse. [full text]
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
– Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society
Here is the full text of the Whitman poem he refers to in the video clip, “O Captain! My Captain!”
And the Robert Herrick poem, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” that he has the boys recite.
What were your reactions to Dead Poets Society the first time you saw it?