Robin Williams Dead Poets Society Quotes, Monologue: ‘Oh Captain! My Captain!’ ‘Carpe Diem,’ Education and Life

Robin Williams’ death on Monday, August 11, came as a shock to the world.

The 63-year-old actor was found to have committed suicide, with the cause of death due to asphyxia.

Of his many films, the 1989 Dead Poets Society is known for having plenty of education and life-related quotes.

Williams plays maverick English teacher John Keating, and inspired his class to follow their dreams and seize the day.

Here are some quotes from the film.

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”


“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’.”


“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? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”


“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!”


“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.”


“Now we all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go (imitating a goat) “that’s baaaaad”. Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in the wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”


“I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.”



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