Theme Of Conformity In Dead Poets Society

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In the movie Dead Poets Society, Peter Weir, the director, creates continuous tension by superimposing the two main opposing themes of individuality and conformity through various camera and mise-en-scene codes. By choosing between diverse camera positions and angles, as well as deliberately placing important objects in various settings, he elegantly exemplifies the contrast between the school’s ethics of conformity and Mr. Keating’s teachings of individuality. This contrast is tangible in both Neil’s suicide scene and the closing scene. In the scene showing Neil’s suicide, Peter Weir uses diverse settings to contrast Neil’s craving for individuality with his father’s devotion to traditions. In the shot where Neil removes his clothes, the foreground clearly shows his crown and school jacket placed on the chair side by side. The crown is associated with acting, which to Neil represents defiance of authority and the unrelenting pursuit of passion. The jacket, on the other hand, represents conformity with the group of boys because it refers to the scene where all the boys left school together to go to the cave. In addition, Peter Weir’s decision of having the suicide take place in the father’s working room, which is the epitome of traditionalism, further emphasizes the incongruence between…show more content…
Ultimately, through these stylistic techniques, Weir seamlessly builds the intensity between the themes of individuality and conformity. In fact, the extensive use of camera positions and angles captivates the viewers and presents them with not only a different perspective that conveys the story and plot, but also a way for them to feel engaged by being in the characters’
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