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20 Dead Poets Society Quotes to Make You Think Differently

Published on February 9, 2020 7:40 AM EST
Dead Poets Society Quotes to Make You Think Differently

Gain a new perspective on life and learning through these Dead Poets Society quotes. 

Dead Poets Society is the story of an English teacher, played by Robin Williams, at a boarding school who uses an unorthodox approach to teaching his class. He brings poetry alive to the students and challenges them to think about life in a different way, which they do. 

Dead Poets Society Quotes to Make You Think Differently

The film unravels around the personal lives of the students and includes both tragedy and plenty of emotions. While many loved the movie, others didn’t feel the same way. Either way, there’s a lot that you can learn from these Dead Poets Society quotes. 

Don’t forget to also read these Robin Williams quotes about laughter, love, and life.

Dead Poets Society quotes about poetry

1. “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. And 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.” – Dead Poets Society

2. “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

3. “College will probably destroy your love for poetry. Hours of boring analysis, dissection, and criticism will see to that. College will also expose you to all manner of literature—much of it transcendent works of magic that you must devour; some of it utter dreck that you must avoid like the plague.” – Dead Poets Society

Inspirational Dead Poets Society quotes

4. “Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” – Dead Poets Society

5. “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Dead Poets Society

6. “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

Dead Poets Society quotes about living

7. “Seize the day. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.” – Dead Poets Society

8. “They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it?” – Dead Poets Society

Also read these Meredith Grey quotes from the award-winning TV series.

Dead Poets Society quotes about wisdom and education

9. “There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.” – Dead Poets Society

10. “I always thought education was learning to think for yourself.” – Dead Poets Society

11. “So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.” – Dead Poets Society

12. “I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.” – Dead Poets Society

13. “Just when you think you know something, you have to look at in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try.” – Dead Poets Society

More Dead Poets Society quotes

14. “But only in their dreams can man be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.” – Dead Poets Society

15. “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t mean choking on the bone.” – Dead Poets Society

16. “Mr. Anderson thinks that everything inside of him is worthless and embarrassing. Isn’t that right, Todd? And that’s your worse fear.” – Dead Poets Society

17. “For the first time in my whole life, I know what I wanna do! And for the first time, I’m gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!” – Dead Poets Society

18. “This is a battle, boys,’ he cried. ‘War! You are souls at a critical juncture. Either you will succumb to the will of academic hoi polloi, and the fruit will die on the vine— or you will triumph as individuals.” – Dead Poets Society

19. “When you read, don’t just consider what the author thinks, consider what you think.” – Dead Poets Society

20. “‘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

You might also like these hilarious Blazing Saddles quotes.

What lessons can you apply to your life?

Maybe you’re finished with your formal education already and don’t see how these lessons apply directly to you. Look for ways that you can look at the life experiences or decisions that you have in your life in a new way. Look for areas where you can re-spark your love or passion for learning and education.

Or, look for ways that you can help to educate others in a new way and challenge them to think outside of the box. We easily get caught up in following along with the flow of the crowd, but to live our best life, we often have to be willing to think and try things in a new way. 

What did you learn from these Dead Poets Society quotes? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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    Mike Laurella

    February 10, 2020 at 5:52 PM

    Awesome movie.“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.” – Dead Poets Society

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