The Purpose of Life
The Purpose of Life Website Ministry
Here's the original 1989 theatrical trailer for Dead Poets Society
This is a film that you'll either find boring or
thoroughly enlightening! In Dead Poets
Society (1989), Robin Williams stars as an
English professor in the 1950's whose
unconventional teaching methods in a strict
boys academy in America comes under close
scrutiny. He encourages his pupils to express
themselves, to use their imagination and to
'make your lives extraordinary.'
The classic Latin phrase 'Carpe Diem' is used
often, meaning 'seize the day' i.e. make the
most of it, go for it, take a leap of faith, etc.
It's the core theme in many respects. The story
also reveals the various dispositions of people,
and the meaning of true friendship, and, of
course, some love and romance - and also the
fact that 'boys will be boys.'
The thing that stands out the most to me
in this film is the difference between the
traditional system of the school, with its
suppressive, legalistic, self-righteous rule,
and the teaching of John Keating (Robin
Williams), who tries to free his students
from conformity to a system that denies or
suppresses individual freedom; and he
encourages them to pursue truth and
enlightenment. His teaching embodies
much that is of the Spirit of God
(especially the contents of the book of
To me, the school represents much that is
of the religious establishments that have
become a little lifeless and legalistic. It's
very much the battle between Law and
Grace. The movie also highlights the need
for discipline and order to some degree,
rather than advocating anarchy and
foolishness - an area where balance is
needed rather than extremes.
It does get a bit intense, towards the
end, dealing with the subject of
suicide brought on by the pressures of
life, particularly the kind that
manifests itself as an uncaring,
dominant, controlling force that
doesn't listen. Sadly, there are many
people who feel trapped in their lives,
and they become so depressed that
killing themselves seems to be the only
In some respects, I can understand
that, but I believe that there is
another 'way out' - and the answer is
found in Jesus the Christ. He is the
Door to a whole new world of amazing
freedom and possibilities, and through
him we can truly find liberty and
restoration from our own failings and
the failings of others that have
Robin Williams is fairly subdued in this role, more so than he usually is. He brings some good humour to the
part, with a few voice impressions thrown in, which he does so well.
There are many classic quotes from various poets and philosophers throughout the film, including 'Two roads
diverged in front of me, and I took the one less travelled by'. At one time I was only aware of this phrase
because of a Larry Norman song!
There is certainly a lot to appreciate in the art of language, literature and music, and much more besides.
God created all things, particularly that which is human. It is sin and death that really messes things up -
nothing else, in and of itself. All in all, a very meaningful and inspiring movie.
May we learn to conquer our fears, whatever they may be, and learn to 'seize the day', God's way.