Tom Schulman – Dead Poets Society ("Carpe Diem" Scene)

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INT. THE WELTON OAK PANELED HONOR ROOM - DAY

This is the room where the boys waited earlier. The walls are lined with class pictures: dating back into the 1800s. School trophies of every description fill trophy cases and shelves. Keating leads the students in, then faces the class.

KEATING
Mister...

(Keating looks at his roll)

Pitts. An unfortunate name. Stand up, Mister Pitts.

*Pitts stands.

KEATING (CONT'D)
Mr. Pitts, would you open your hymnal to page five hundred and forty-two and read for us the first stanza of the poem.

*Pitts looks through his book. He finds the poem.

PITTS
"To The Virgins, to Make Much Of Time"?

KEATING
That's the one.

*Giggles in the class. Pitts reads.

PITTS
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

KEATING
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. The Latin term for that sentiment is "Carpe Diem." Now, who knows what that means?

MEEKS
Carpe Diem... that's seize the day.

KEATING
Very good, Mr...?

MEEKS
Meeks.

KEATING
Seize the day, gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Why does the poet write these lines?

A STUDENT
Because he's in a hurry?

KEATING
No! Ding!

*Laughs erupt in the class.

KEATING
Because we're food for worms, lads! Because we're only going to experience a limited number of springs, summers, and falls. One day, hard as it is to believe, each and every one of us is going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die! I would like you to step forward over here and peruse the faces of the boys who attended this school sixty or seventy years ago. You've walked past them many times, but, I don't think you really looked at them.

*The boys get up. Todd, Neil, Knox, Meeks, etc. go over to the class pictures that line the honor room walls.

*ANGLES ON VARIOUS PICTURES ON THE WALLS. Faces of young men stare at us from out of the past.

KEATING
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.

*The boys are staring at the pictures, sobered by what Keating is saying.

KEATING (CONT'D)
Did they wait until it was too late, to make from their lives into even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see, gentleman, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But, if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go ahead, lean in. Listen....you hear it?

(Keating loudly whispering)
Carpe...

You hear it?

[(Continues whispering while they look at the picture)]

Carpe...Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.


Todd, Neil, Knox, Charlie, Cameron, Meeks, Pitts all stare into the pictures on the wall.  All are lost in thought.

EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - DAY

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