Here are your responses to the first question of whether Neil would have
eventually killed himself even if Mr. Keating had never entered his life.
(NOTE: Most of the people who sent responses did not mention if they wanted
their email addresses displayed. To be safe, I assumed they did not. However,
if you would like your email shown with your response, please
Neil would still have committed suicide, even if he had not met Mr. Keating.
He would have followed his father's wishes and lived an unfulfilled and
miserable life. Eventually, his life would have no meaning and he
would have ended it.
Jay: If Mr.
Keating had never come into his life, he would have never have gotten his
hopes up about acting. I think that without Keating, Neil would not have
ended things the way he did, but he would have gone on to live a long life,
possibly still under the hand of his father - the hand holding him down.
It is probably better that he ended things this way.
Jonathan: Neil would
still have committed suicide if he'd never met Mr. Keating. He felt trapped
by his father, and nothing could change that. Neil tried to find someone
to save him, he lied to Mr. Keating about talking to his father and knew
Keating realized he was lying. Neil wanted Keating to stop him, but Neil
realized that no one could save him from who he was.
Drreamerr: I don't
think Neil would have killed himself. Without Keating he would have
not have had the courage or even known what living truly is.
A White Rose: I don't
know if Neil still would've killed himself had Mr.Keating not come into
his life.Certainly he would have never gone against his father. However
he would also never have had a taste of freedom from his father, therefore
he wouldn't have known what he was missing. Maybe he would have eventually
went his own way but I think either way he felt suicide was his only way
possible, he was a romantic. And most of all he really knew what he wanted.
Joan: Neil would
have committed suicide with or without Keating's presence in his life.
It's just a matter of time. Neil has that great passion for life but what
is life without the freedom to persue his own aspirations? What is living
if everything has been planned before you've lived it ? Man isn't a machine
and he dosen't run a program. Neil would have no choice but to terminate
that program his dad is running on him.
mattyboy: Yes, he
still would have committed sucide but maybe not the physical kind. His
life was a suicide in a way. The joy of child being crushed by the demands
and pressures of the authority figure. His father was killing him and by
not being able to do what he felt was important to himself he was slowly
killing himself by not having something he enjoyed in his life.
Jena: Yes, Neil would
still have committed suicide. Of course, probably not until he graduated
from Welton. Because no matter whether Keating had come into his
life or not, he still would have been unhappy. He just probably would
have gotten to med school and said "this isn't what I want to do," and
he would have gotten so miserable. . . Yeah, he'd still have done it.
Mr. Keaton just showed him what he might have wanted to do with his life
instead of letting him suffer in semi-silence. (And Neil never would've
starred in Midsummer Night's Dream.)
I don't think Neil would've killed himself without meeting Keating. Keating
showed him what it was to be truly free; Neil didn't really know what he
was missing until he tasted it for the first time.
Ella: I think
that Neil would have committed suicide. He was so unhappy, that sooner
or later he would have snapped. It may not have neccesarily been
over acting, but he would have.
Tristan: Neil would
not have committed suicide if Mr Keating had not come into his life. If
Mr Keating hadn't come along, Neil wouldn't have been inspired to act,
which led to his downfall. If Neil hadn't met Mr Keating he would have
finished off at law school and become an unhappy, miserable doctor like
his father always intended. Maybe Neil always was a romantic, but Mr Keating
brought the romanticism in Neil out - leading to Neil defying his father.
This leads to another question: Why is it the nature of romantics
to defy anything, even those looking out for their best interests?
To commit suicide was obviously the only way for him to flee out of the
whole disaster. His main problem was that he couldn't do anything against
his self-centered father. He needed to realize that he is just a man as
anybody else and that he is not his father's property as it often seemed
to be. But I have to admit that the movie took place in the late 1950's
where it was definitely much harder for a teenager to go his own way.
If he had rebelled against
his father until he wouldn't care about him anymore, Neil still would not
have been able to realize his dreams because a theatre school is expensive
and he depended on his family's money. So I would say to commit suicide
was the only way out of not becoming an actor without big trouble.
But he could have tried
other but much harder ways to reach this goal. I'm thinking about leaving
his father, finishing school at a public High school, then getting a job
and try to finance his theatre by himself.
Ray: I think
Neil would haved lived on in a very uninspiring and bittersweet life longing
over what he could have been. Mr. Keating was more of a two edged sword
showing Neil what he could have been and also showing him what he missed
in his life which is cause to be down on one's self. Once you truly go
back to living you never want to be trapped in the life of a drone. It's
better to live your final days truly alive seizing the day than to waste
it half living.
I don't believe that Neal would've killed himself if Mr. Keating hadn't
come into his life. Though I don't think it's right Mr.K was blamed for
it in the end, if he hadn't said "Carpe Diem! Make your lives extraordinary!"
and all that, then Neal wouldn't have gotten his passions stirred up so
much, at least not yet in his life. Mr.K accepted him and understood him
in ways his father never did, so Neal responded to that by taking everything
Mr.K said and internalizing it, by becoming an-ultra romantic, and not
leaving room for reality that can get so easily taken over by blind passion.
Neil Perry had the passion for acting even before Mr. Keating came into
his life. Neal ended his life because his father refused to acknowledge
and free him to pursue his dream.
feel that Neil would certainly have committed suicide with or without Mr.
Keating in his life. His committing suicide had nothing to do with
Mr. Keating, but rather with Mr. Perry. Mr. Perry put too much pressure
on Neil and would only let Neil be on one path, when Neil diverted...due
to his own will and want, Mr. Perry went ballistic. The only relief
from daily life and family life for Neil was acting. When he was
forbidden to do that, it was as though his life was taken. His life
being taken, Neil took his life. It was the only way to escape his
father and therefore was Mr. Perry's fault, but not Mr. Keating's.
Cindy: I believe that Neil would not
have taken his own life if he had never met Mr. Keating, or anybody like
Mr. Keating. Neil would have been very unhappy with his life and his occupation
and the whole nine yards, but it was the idea of independent thought that
got Neil thinking of going against his father. In the beginning before
ever meeting Mr. Keating Neil has a disagreement with his father, even
though Neil does not like what his father tells him that he must do he
does it anyways because he always did what his father wanted him to do.
That all changes shortly after meeting Mr Keating.
Aixla: Neil would probably have
committed suicide without Mr. Keating in his life. His parents pressured
him so much, and he just couldn't take it. Eventually he would have cracked
over something else - test scores, job hunting, etc. Without Mr. Keating,
though, he never would have found his true love, acting, and the happiness
that came with it.
Adam: Neil would not have
commited suicide in the foreseeable future. He was earlier pepared to take
what his father gave him for the time being (not allowed to edit the paper).
It was only after being inspired to take up acting that he got so high,
and going back down the the bottom (studying medicine) seemed unbearable.
Charlie: I don't think that Neil would
have killed himself if he hadn't met Mr. Keating. Don't get me wrong.
I am not blaming his death on Mr. Keating as the administration at Welton
did. But Mr. Keating was a romantic trying to teach students brought
up as realists to seize the day (Carpe Diem). I think it was good
that he taught them this because this is the way that we need to be in
life otherwise we would never grow and blossom as individuals. Neil,
having not met Mr. Keating, would probably have been more like Todd until
he came to the point in which he was no longer under his father's control.
He wouldn't have at that point in his life. He would have gone on studying,
then on to Harvard to do exactly what Mr. Perry wanted. There he
would have realized his life meant nothing and there was nothing to live
for; he would have realized his life didn't belong to him. Without
Mr. Keating, Neil probably would never have been truly happy.
Charles: This is an
interesting contemplation. Keating gave Neil hope. Hope that he could acheive
his dreams and live the prophecy of the Dead Poets Society. It could be
argued that Keating gave him the fortitude and spirit to take up acting,
and no more. This in itself was merely a facilitatin of what was within
It is apparent from the
outset of the film that Neil's life was to be made an existence that was
dictated by his father. So long as Neil remained subject to this control,
he would never be able to live. Suicide appeared to be the only way of
regaining this control. This point would have come eventually, Keating
merely gave Neil the gumption to live before he died. He did not create
the problem, the fear or the powerlessness that Neil was subject to which
caused his suicide.
Sharon: I strongly feel that Neil would
have ended his life anyway. It might not have been as early as it was,
but Neil was smart. He would have realised that his father was trying to
control his life and he would have rebelled. His father would have shot
him down, and it would be over.
As for acting, he would
have discovered it eventually. It's the English teacher's job ( whoever
the teacher is), to introduce him to Shakespeare. And Neil would have gotten
the feeling that any actor gets when he gets a Shakespeare in his hands,
and he would have started to act.
Neil: This is a tough one.
We know that he was deeply unhappy that he was ruled so much by his overbearing
father. We also know that he bowed to what his father said. The tragedy
came from his forbiddence to continuing acting. He had seen the advert
for rehearsals before Keating came (44 minutes into the film) but had obviously
dismissed the idea. With Keating's exhortations he came out and broke free.
Thus it could be argued that the answer is no. I believe that the unhappiness
couldn't have continued to carry on unabated. Soon he would be too moulded
to be able to manage to do anything but the desire to do as he wished would
have forced him over.
If Neil had not ended his life with the gun and followed what his father
wanted to, it would be a suicide after all.
Mr. Keating taught him what life is all about and how life is worth
living. So it gave him some days of true freedom and with Neil's suicide
he managed to get true freedom out of his body that kept him a slave.
Lex: Yes. Keating had nothing
to do with Neil killing himself. Sure, he encouraged Neil to pursue
acting, but he encouraged all of his students to follow their hearts.
Neil killed himself b/c of his father, not Keating. His father felt
it mandatory to live Neil's life for him, he left him no choices and didn't
listen to what he wanted. Keating taught Neil how wonderful life
can be if you make the most of it, and how to look at life from a different
point of view. No one commits suicide b/c an inspirational teacher
enters his/her life, if anything wouldn't that prevent it?
Amy: I believe Neil would indeed have
committed suicide even if he had never met Mr. Keating. It probably
would have happened later in life, maybe in med school or after.
With his fathers constant pushing to be something he was not I think Neil
would finally reach that breaking point and end his life.
Angelius: I think Neil would not have
had the courage to commit suicide if Mr. Keating had not come into his
life, but he was dying slowly inside anyway. The appearance of Mr. Keating
just made him get the idea that he should die all at once, instead of die
slowly under his father's control.
MaraJade62@aol.com: Yes, definitely.
Though I agree with everyone else that it would've happened later in life.
He probably would've graduated from the school his father wanted, gone
into the career his father wanted, gotten married to who his father wanted,
and finally he'd have broken. He'd have killed himself anyway.
Bernice: Neil would still have committed
suicide with or without the appearance of Mr Keating. It's just a matter
of time. He felt so trapped by his father. If Mr Keating did not appear
in his life, he would eventually take his life when he can't handle his
Weiting: Neil will not commit suicide.
He will not have the courage to do it and will just listen to his parents
and do what he does not wish. He may not be interested in acting too if
he had not met Mr. Keating.
anonymous: I think it doesn't`t matter
whether he came or not. Because he struggled with his own problem, Unfortunately,
he couldn't`t get his solution. It`s just his problem.
Bryan: No. Mr.Keating encouraged students
to do what they wanted to do. Neil was the one of the most influenced students
by him. Without him, Neil wouldn't have auditioned for a part of the play.
But, it's obvious that Neil didn't learn every part of Mr.Keating's words.
Mr.Keating also taught students to be brave. Brave enough to be extraordinary...
He forced the students to walk according to their own pace. His message
was that no matter how another people walk, we should keep our own. Without
living, we can't do anything. Anything which we can make our lives extraordinary.
Mellain: I think that Neil would have
commited suicide even when Mr. Keating came into his life because I think
it is because of Neil's father that is the main reason why I think he killed
Millicent: This may be totally off,
but I don't think Neil really meant to kill himself. I mean, yeah, granted,
he did pull the trigger on himself, but I think this may have been symbolic
of an ending - be it taken on a literal level (his life), or rather as
an end to his dreams of acting - or even an end to being his father's perfect
Takis Bouyouris: Suicide
has more than one aspect! Neil actually shot himself and ended his life!
The fact that Mr. Keating entered his life was only by chance, but of course
there is a reason for everything in life! Whether Neil started realising
what he really wants for himself and took his own decisions at the time
he met Keating or later, makes no difference! If he went on with a life
based on his father's dreams he would end up dead! And I mean dead as a
free person who can create and think and make no compromises! In that sense
he would be as DEAD! The thing is that at that time HE decided to put an
end by himself! It was HIS decision and for that it was his big step to
eternity! It was HIS decision and not his father's! He actually made up
his mind, he had a choice! Before Mr. Keating came he had no choice.
Dan: I think that Neil might have persevered
longer if Mr. Keating hadn't inspired him to seize the day and follow his
dream of becoming an actor at so young an age. The main reason that
I think this is because I feel that if Neil's success as an actor had come
later in life, he might have been better able to convince his father that
acting was the best career path for him. It might have allowed him
time to establish a better rapport with his father. Alternately,
he might have learned how to manipulate his father by that time.
In any case, I think he would have had a better chance of survival without
Mr. Keating's advice. Unfortunately, Neil's teacher did not show him how
he could use his great ability with language to express himself to his
Jennifer: I think that he wouldn't
commit suicide if Mr. Keating never came into his life.Without his emergence,
Neil wouldn't kow that there're other different forms of pleasant of life
in this world; he wouldn't have power encouraged to seek real meaning of
life and enjoy this sense of belonging in search of ego; he wouldn't also
find other sides of his life that need to be watered to moisten and cultivate.
His original code of life makes him follow the serious rules that he originally
believes in and is seated-deep on his mind. Based on this point, he would
hold it to take this route until the end of his life, but not take this
route of suicide.
Chris: I think that Neil would have
committed suicide. As stated above, he would have been miserable. This
way, although, I didnt like him killing himself, he at least somewhat fulfilled
William: If Mr. Keating had never come
into his life, I think that Neil couldn't have committed suicide. To be
an actor could have been just a hope in his mind. However, Mr. Keating
activated his hope. If Neil was brave to commit suicide, he should have
found out another way with the brave mind.
N. B. Turfrey: This is
a tough one. We know that he was deeply unhappy that he was ruled so much
by his overbearing father. We also know that he bowed to what his father
said. The tragedy came from his forbiddence to continuing acting. He had
seen the advert for rehearsals before Keating came (44 minutes into the
film) but had obvioulsy dismissed the idea. With Keating's exhortations
he came out and broke free. Thus it could be argued that the answer is
no. I believe that the unhappiness couldn't have continued to carry on
unabated. Soon he would be too moulded to be able to manage to do anything
but the desire to do as he wished would have forced him over.
Katie: Neil would never have comitted
suicide if not for Mr. Keating. It was Mr. Keating that taught him the
meaning of living life to the fullest; once he had tasted this freedom
it was impossible for him to go back to his father's controlling plan for
Clara, Didem, Jullian, Yuko: No, because
Mr. Keating affects his life by showing him that he has to choose his life
his own way. In addition, Neil lives his life according to the idea of
Carpe Diem in the wrong way by losing his opportunities. At the same time,
Mr. Keating encourages and teaches him to confront
everything. He shows the power of thinking in a different way but hiecould
not teach him about the responsibilities that go along with these things.
So, Mr. Keating affects his life.
Jason Harris: If people
believe that the reason Neil took his life was Mr.Keatings fault or even
had anything to do with acting they are wrong. Neil took his life for one
reason, it was not his own. Neil's father was living his life for him,
Neil didn't get to make any of the decisions regarding his own life. Why
live a life if it is for someone else. He was his father's puppet and thought
the only way to break the strings was to take his life. So yes, in his
state of mind Neil would have taken his life, it was only a matter of time.
Cutegirls: We discussed that question
in our film class. We agreed that if Mr. Keating had never come into his
life, Neil wouldn't have committed suicide. This is because we thought
that he had very weak spirit which made him unable to talk with his father.
Cynthia, William, JunHo: yes, we think
that Neil still will kill himself, no matter Mr Keating has come to his
life or not. Because the problem between he and his parents has already
existed before Mr.Keating came to school. However, we think if Mr.
Keating would not show up, Neil's hope to be an actor could be just an
untouchable dream. Mr. Keating gave him courage to show his talent on the
Sylvia: I think not. Keating
was the catalyst in a bad situation which I think he underestimated, being
himself still young and inexperienced. He told the
boys "don't choke on the bones" but you never see him give them any
practical examples of how to do this. Neil needed to be encouraged
to envisage the long, long term not the short term. Keating has one go
at this, telling Neil that one day he'll be out of school, but he doesn't
seem to try very hard. Romanticism as a philosophy was perhaps not
a good thing for Neil - I think the school was partly right (though they
went about it the wrong way) - an obsession with immediate gratification
and a romanticising of death is a dangerous thing for troubled adolescents.
Shall I shock everyone by suggesting that Jane Austen might have been more
helpful? Also, having encouraged Neil to trust him as
his shepherd, his captain, even his substitute father (the scene in Keating's
study) Keating lets him down: he doesn't confront him in the classroom
when he suspects he's lied about telling his father about the play; and
after the play he COULD have physically stepped in between Neil and Mr
Perry to prevent Mr Perry from taking Neil away. When the metaphorical
battle Keating refers to at the beginning threatens to become a real battle
Keating wimps out. It would have ended his career at Welton but Neil's
very life required it. By that stage Keating should have realized
that Neil wasn't strong enough to defend himself either physically or spiritually:
he needed his friends and teacher to do it for him, he needed someone prepared
to put their whole self, body and career, on the line for him. Without
the teacher to give the lead his friends, though they sense the emergency,
don't have the courage. I can't give examples but I suspect that
there are kids out there who are alive today because they had gutsy and
perceptive teachers who weren't afraid to make a fuss when they suspected
parental abuse. That would have been as true in the 50s as now.
Class of 99 Alberton , South Africa:
Neil would probably have commited suicide sometime or lived a miserable
life even if Mr K did not come into his life. One person cannot influence
your life like that and Mr K was not a bad influence. Maybe he brought
Neil's unhappiness forward in time but Neil was feeling like this before
Mr K came along. In one of the first scenes his dad tells him to quit the
Year book and you can see his resentment already then
Du Toit Albertus: Neil
wouldn't have killed himself. He would have flunked from med school,
after a term of considerable hell and thunder from his dad. His relationship
with his parents would have broken at some stage, but he was inteligent
enough to create another career, far away.