In Dead Poets Society, teacher John Keating, played by Robin Williams, is fired for his unconventional teaching methods. He visits his classroom one last time - whereupon his students stand on their desks defying their stern headmaster, and recite Walt Whitman's 1865 poem, "O Captain! My Captain!"
No accident that Robin Williams' character was named for British poet John Keats who wrote another equally famous poem:
Ode on a Grecian Urn
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
|Robin Williams plays John Keating, an English teacher at a rigid prep school, in Dead Poets Society|
O Captain, My Captain by Walt Whitman
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.