12 ‘Dead Poets Society’ Quotes That’ll Encourage You to Seize The Day

Dead Poets Society

A cinematic gem and masterpiece are what ‘Dead poets Society’ is. The story of an English Teacher, John Keating (played by Robin Williams), who inspires his students to grasp poetry with a different perspective of genuine knowledge and emotion. Not only does Keating teach his students about literature and poetry, he also educates them about life and living it to the fullest. 

Teaching in the conservative all-boys preparatory school of Welton Academy, he is expected to meet the high standards of the institution and to follow their age-old traditions. But this new English teacher chooses to reach out to his students with his unorthodox methods and encourages them to go against the status quo. He helps his students, who are heavily pressured by their parents, to break out of their shells and supports them to pursue their dreams – to seize the day. 

Dead Poets Society is just one of those movies that leave a lasting impression on your perspective of life, irrespective of where you are at in life. In arguably one of his best roles in film, Robin Williams delivers some of the most memorable and inspiring quotes through the character of John Keating in this classic, unforgettable movie.  

Related: 12 Robin Williams Quotes on Life, Money, Love, Comedy, Forgiveness, Loneliness, and More

Here are 12 quotes from Dead Poets Society that will encourage you to seize the day: 

1. “Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

seize the day

This is probably the main ‘punchline’ of the whole movie. Living extraordinary lives is worth the effort it takes to do so.

2. “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t mean choking on the bone.”

dead poets society

With a subtle play on the words of Henry David Thoreau, John Keating reminds his students that living life to the fullest doesn’t mean getting out of hand and losing pace in life.

3. “‘O Captain, my Captain.’ Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It’s from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you’re slightly more daring, O Captain, my Captain.”

dead poets society

Keating prefers to be called ‘O Captain, My Captain’ instead of a ‘Sir’ to build a special bond with his students, one of his many unorthodox approaches towards teaching.

4. “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”

dead poets society quotes

For those that feel like they’ve been silenced by the pressures of this world, it’s time to find your voice and speak up for yourself.

5. “When you read, don’t just consider what the author thinks, consider what you think.”

dead poets society

Forming original opinions and thoughts is what sets us apart from those who choose to mindlessly follow the crowd.

6. “But only in their dreams can man be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.”

robin williams

When Mr. McAllister says, “Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams and I’ll show you a happy man,” this is Keating’s reply. The teacher guesses Keating is quoting Tennyson, but these words are his very own.

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Blanc Ocean

Hey, I’m Blanc. I am a writer, a lyricist, a musician and an award winning poet. I am a third culture kid (not really a kid anymore) and an introvert by nature. I am passionate about pop culture, basketball, cinematography, anthropology and drama. I believe in the power of words and ideas and their potential, when followed through with action, to change the world.View Author posts