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An unconventional teacher that teaches the students the importance of "carpe diem." He emphasizes the importance for students to make the most out of their lives and encourages them to be individuals. His teaching methods attract the outrage of the strict headmaster, Gale Nolan who uses the death of a student as an excuse to fire Keating.
Robert Sean Leonard
One of the most promising students who restarts the unsanctioned club "Dead Poet's Society" after learning that Keating was part of this club when he was attending the school. He and his friends meet off campus to read poetry as well as their own compositions. Neil discovers a love of acting and is encouraged by Keating to pursue his passion. This is met with strong opposition from his father who wishes him to become a doctor. Unable to stand up to his father, Neil commits suicide.
A shy boy that enters Welton Academy, roommate of Neil. Keating encourages him to express himself when he makes him perform a spontaneous poem in front of the entire class. When Keating returns after being fired, Todd is the first to stand and salute him.
A romantic who pursues the love of Chris Noel. A member of the Dead Poet's Society.
One of the members that gets in trouble after writing an essay demanding that girls should be admitted into Welton. He punches Cameron after Cameron tells the other boys to let Keating take the fall for Neil's death and is expelled as a result.
Headmaster Gale Nolan
Welton's strict, tight-laced headmaster that fires Keating and later takes over his class.
An bookish student that names the other boys as members of the Dead Poet's Society in order to escape punishment. He convinces the other boys to all name Keating as the one responsible for Neil's death.
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Keating illustrates the imortance of individuality and individual perspective by having his students tear an important page containing the mathematical formula for raring poetry out of their textbooks.