Dead Poet Society

In the film Dead Poet Society, Prof. John Keating encourages his students with these words:
“Carpe Diem, lads! Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary!”
However, this all starts to backfire as the boys – his students – begin to drift from the goals the school has and their families have. At their particular age, they become impressionable and Prof. Keating is in a position of care. Ultimately he has a fiduciary duty to these young men, their parents and to the school. However, has he breached this fiduciary duty? One of his student’s stalks a young lady and eventually wins her heart; another disobeys his parents and eventually commits suicide. Is Prof. Keating to blame for this? Weren’t the students “seizing the day?” The school and Neil’s parents eventually blame him and he loses his job. Again, did he breach his fiduciary duties and lead the young man astray?
The conversation between Prof. Keating and another professor conflicts between free thinkers
and traditional conformity. What are your feelings? Please provide detailed context from the
film to support your view.
How about the two main ethical theories? Was Prof. Keating’s approach one of utilitarianism?
What about his firing from the school? Was he promoting the ultimate good for greatest
number – his students? What about Kantianism – was this the school’s approach; the parent’s
approach? Please provide detailed context from the film to support your view.
At some point, you too will be in a position of power; one in which you have a fiduciary duty.
You will have to maintain your loyalties to the law, the company and your employees. How can you balance the two main theories – Kantianism and Utilitarianism? The two theories will often conflict, but have to coexist too in order to meet your fiduciary duties.
How would you have handled things if you were the dean of the school and had to address the issue of the parents, Prof. Keating, and the students after the suicide? Base your results on the two main ethical theories.  provide detailed context from the film to support your view. If you were Prof. Keating, would you have acted any differently? Did his actions breach his fiduciary duty?




Sample Solution