John Keating: No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change
Meeks: I'll try anything once.
Dalton: Yeah, except sex.
John 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. 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.
John Keating: 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.
John Keating: 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. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the
questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities
filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you
are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and
you may contribute a verse." That the powerful play goes on and you may
contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
John Keating: Sucking all the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the
John Keating: There is a time for daring and a time for caution, and a wise man
knows which is called for.
John Keating: I thought the purpose of education was to learn to think for
Nolan: At these boys ages? Not on your life!
Neil: For the first time in my life, I know what I want to do! And for the first
time, I'm going to DO IT! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe dium!
John Keating: We're not laughing at you - we're laughing near you.
Dalton: [answering phone] Welton Academy, hello. Yes he is, hold on. Mr. Nolan,
it's for you. It's God. He says we should have girls at Welton.
John Keating: Why do we need language?
Neil: To communicate...
John Keating: Nooo!! To woo women!
[Quoting Henry David Thoreau.]
Neil: I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to
live deep and suck out all the marrow of life ... to put to rout all that was
not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
McAllister: Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams and I'll show you a
John Keating: But only in their dreams can men be truly free. 'Twas always thus
and always thus will be.
John Keating: No, Keating.
Todd Aderson: I... I close my eyes. His image floats beside me. A sweaty-toothed
madman with a stare that pounds my brain.
John Keating: Excellent! Have him act. Give it rhythm!
Todd Aderson: His hands reach out and choke me
[All the time he mumbles slowly]
Todd Aderson: Truth... Truth is like a blanket that always leaves your feet
John Keating: [some of the class start to laugh] To hell with them, more about
Todd Aderson: Stretch it, pull it, it will never cover any of us. Kick at it,
beat at it, it will never be enough-
John Keating: Don't stop!
Todd Aderson: From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it
will cover just your head as you wail and cry and scream!
Neil: I mean, if I was ever going to buy a desk set... twice! I would probably
buy this one, both times! In fact, its shape is rather aerodynamic isn't it? You
can feel it. This desk set wants to fly!
[Neil hands the desk set to Todd]
Neil: The world's first flying desk set!
[Todd throws it off the roof]
Neil: Oh my! Well, I wouldn't worry, you'll get another one next year.
[After hearing "The Introduction to Poetry"]
John Keating: Excrement! That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard! We're
not laying pipe! We're talking about poetry. How can you describe poetry like
American Bandstand? "I like Byron, I give him a 42 but I can't dance to
[Joining the DPS]
Dalton: It'll help you get Chris!
Dalton: Women swoon!
[Dalton rushes off to class]
Knox: Why do they swoon?
[Runs after Dalton]
Knox: Tell me why they swoon!
John Keating: 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.
John Keating: You must trust that your beliefs are unique, your won, even though
others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go,
John Keating: I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP OVER THE ROOFTOPS OF THE WORLD.
Todd Aderson: [standing on his desk] Captain my captain.