“Carpe Diem. Seize The Day” – Dead Poets Society

The speech I chose is more of a monologue made by the late Robin Williams in his movie Dead Poets Society. In the movie, Robin Williams is a school teacher at a prestigious private school for boys. He is trying to inspire them that there is more to life than school. He wants them to be creative when the system is telling them not to be. This is one of the most famous monologues from the movie.

He starts the speech with humor. He is joking around about students with weird names and getting the answers to his questions wrong. He does this because although he may be a teacher, he still has to get the young boys attention. He doesn’t need to improve his ethos because he is already the authority figure who is trusted to have the knowledge. Instead he uses pathos to acquire their attention. He is boisterous and cracking joke and making light fun of students so he can get them all to pay attention. He gets them to laugh and be engaged in his lesson.

On top of using pathos, Robin Williams uses audience participation to get the students involved in the lesson. He asks some of the boys to read the poem or answer questions of his about said poem to get the attention that he needs. This has all been his way of drawing them in. Getting them to lean a little closer so he can drop his real lesson on them about life.

He starts this with a dramatic shift in tone of voice and idea. He states, “Because we are food for worms, lads.” After his question of why the writer uses the lines, “gather ye rosebuds why ye may”. This is a much more serious tone than he had previously. The dramatic shift is really able to grab all of the boys attention. He is trying to teach them about life and what they can do with it so he makes these big, sweeping statements that, while somewhat depressing, are very true to life.

After he makes his profound statement about death, he gets them to lean in really close, looking at pictures prior students of the school from a long time ago, and he begins to whisper in their ears. His whisper is so gentle and it is meant to be the voice of the long dead students. It is meant to solidify the idea of seizing what they can with their lives by putting themselves to work and he leaves them with this sentiment.

Overall, his monologue is odd and very inspiring. Due to its oddness, it is also quite memorable. They boys don’t forget what he says because he presents his ideas in a way that is unlike other teachers. He is also very passionate about what he is saying. He knows it is right and he wants the boys that are in front of him to understand that. His passion helps him achieve this goal of empowering the boys to pursue their happiness.


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