He felt that his only option in order to gain some control of his life was to take his own life. It was just as Puck said in his soliloquy, Neil was his father’s dream. When his father woke up, his dream was gone. As the role of Puck, Neil is able to express what he could not when he wasn’t acting. The Puck epilogue is said directly to his father, in hopes that his father will forgive him. He cannot say anything later when his father tells him what he expects Neil to do because at that moment he is no longer acting. Neil so desperately wants to have a verse to contribute, but he lacks the words, and can only say them while acting.
Neil, His Father, and the Suicide Neil’s relationship with his father is a case of misunderstanding and lack of communication. Mr. Perry wanted what was best for his son, which led to extremely high expectations. Neil wanted to find out who he was and what he wanted to do. Neil was unable to discuss his opinions and options with his father, and Mr. Perry was unwilling to look at Neil’s outlook on life, as it did not appear as Neil had a concrete idea of what he wanted to do. This cyclical pattern led Neil to conclude that suicide was the only way to gain control of his life and stand up to his father.
Neil only considered suicide after the major confrontation with him over the play. In the vast majority of suicide cases, suicide is an act that is contemplated for quite some time. Usually there are warning signs that accompany those thoughts. In this case, however, there is no evidence that Neil thought about suicide up until that night. It appears to be a spontaneous decision made on the basis of the hopelessness he felt that night. Maybe it was an act to break free from his father’s control, but in trying to gain that control over his life, he sacrificed everything to escape.
Mr. Perry was at traditionalist, which unfortunately meant he had a difficult time expressing affectionate emotions. He also had a large number of expectations because like any parent, he ultimately wanted the best for his son, a 16-17 year old with a bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately, Neil never really saw or understood that his father only wanted what was best for Neil. He only saw the tyrant-like authority figure who constantly demanded that Neil achieve greatness in academia and who obeyed him unquestioningly.
Neil, however, did question that role – to himself, to others, even to Keating. Unfortunately, he never truly was able to convey that to his father. The only time he was able to stand up to his father was in the role of Puck during the play, when he asked for forgiveness with his last soliloquy, an act which deliberately disobeyed and thus enraged his father. He had many opportunities to do so before then, but he never seized the opportunity to reestablish a connection. The father and son were like strangers, each with a specific perception of the other, but neither really knew who the other was.
This perpetuated the cycle of misunderstandings between the two and eventually played a major role in Neil’s suicide. In Mr. Perry’s perspective, Neil was a model child who was focused on getting into a good college. He then learns from another parent that Neil was going to be in the play. This was the first he had heard of this, as Neil had lied to everyone about his father’s approval. Mr. Perry then told Neil that couldn’t be involved, an order Neil deliberately disobeyed by performing in the opening show the following night.
When Mr. Perry saw Neil as Puck, he became furious and probably overreacted a bit by concluding that it must be the school (or more specifically, Mr Keating – the new teacher) that was the cause of this and that Neil should transfer schools to regain his focus. Neil, on the other hand, wanted to know who he was. He was always obedient to his father’s wishes, but he wanted to know more about himself. Acting was something he could do for himself – something that he enjoyed and allowed him to explore what he was able to accomplish.
On the other hand, it was also a means of escaping his current reality by being someone else for a few hours. Keating suggested Neil talk to his father about this passion, but Neil second guessed his father’s actions by arguing that his father would never understand. He never gave his father the benefit of the doubt and tried to explain. Keating even went so far as to tell Neil that even if his father didn’t see things his way, he’d soon be out of school and could do what he wished then. Neil wouldn’t listen to this advice, and later when Keating asked if Neil had spoken to his father, Neil said he did consent. I think Keating knew he was lying but he chose not to pursue the matter because at that point, Neil had to take responsibility for his own actions. ) Yes, Mr. Perry was hard on Neil, but that was probably out of concern. He was paying a lot of money to attend a great school to prepare him for an ivy league school, and Neil, out of nowhere, decides he doesn’t want to go to college. He wants to act. Mr. Perry believed that this was a fleeting dream, and that if Neil followed this path, he would be throwing away a wonderful opportunity for a pursuit that would last a couple of years.
After all, most people don’t really have a grasp on their future until at least their junior or senior year of college. If his acting career failed, which in all likelihood, it would have, Neil would have no skills to fall back on. Also, Neil never really stood up to his father. There were times he tried, like when Mr. Perry told Neil he should drop some extracurricular activities, but he did so in the presence of others, which created a hostile environment between the two. It would have been interesting if Neil and his father would have actually sat down and chatted about what Neil wanted and what they could do to compromise.
Even at the very end, when the two confronted each other right before Neil committed suicide, Neil still could not face his father. Mr. Perry specifically asked Neil what he wanted, and Neil couldn’t answer him. I think Mr. Perry really expected Neil to give him an answer, and I think if Neil would have, his father may have been more understanding. In a way, Neil resembles how Todd was in the beginning of the movie. Todd couldn’t speak to anyone of authority without sounding insecure. In one of the extra scenes, Todd tried to ask for rowing instead of soccer, but could barely speak. He was given soccer instead.
Also, in class, whenever he was asked a question, he couldn’t answer. He wanted to say something – especially to recite the poem he spent so much time writing, but he never could. He even ended up ripping up his poem. Now the only thing Neil fell victim to was his own passions. He was not a victim of his father because his father did not make him nor want him to kill himself. Neil crucified himself. If Puck’s costume is supposed to be symbolic of the crown of thorns – which I’m not certain it is – then it was Neil that put it on his own head. It was Neil that pulled the trigger and killed himself.
No one else made him do it. I personally don’t view him as a martyr because his cause was a completely selfish one. There was no reason for him to do so. A martyr sacrifices his life for a specific cause, and it is usually beneficial to that movement, but Neil was not a part of any kind of great cause. He was a coward and took the easy way out of a difficult situation. How was Responsible? In the end, both the realists and the romantics blame the other for Neil’s suicide. The romantics say it was Neil’s father. Even Todd says this when he first confronts his romanticism in the snow.
The realists say it was Keating, and in the end, force Keating to leave. Neither side wants to believe that through the act of suicide, Neil is taking control of his own life decisions and therefore must assume the responsibility. Suicide is a personal choice, and only Neil could decide whether or not to commit the act. He did what he thought was best at that moment without considering what the next morning or the next week would bring. He didn’t look at other more rational options, such as openly discussing the situation with his father or even waiting until he was a couple years older as Keating suggested.
There is a point in everyone’s life where they feel that no one understand them, and no matter what they say, it doesn’t change the situation. However, by Neil killing himself, Mr. Perry never had the opportunity to understand his son’s desires and passions. Neil’s Suicide – Key Quotes • Nolan: Neil, we expect great things from you this year Mr Perry: Well he won’t disappoint us will you Neil” •Yep, chemistry. My father thought I should get ahead. ” •After you’ve finished medical school and you are on your own then you can do as you damn well please. Until then you do as I tell you.
Is that clear?… ” •Oh that’s rich, like you guys tell your parents off? Mister future lawyer and mister future banker. ” •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 diem! •Don’t you dare talk back to me. It’s bad enough that you’ve wasted your time wit this absurd acting business, but you deliberately deceived me…Who put you up to this? Was it this new man Mr Keating? ” •Uh, he didn’t like it one bit, but at least he’s letting me stay in the play. He won’t be able to make, make it.
He’s in Chicago. But, uh, I think he’s gonna let me stay with acting. ” •Get in the car. Keating, you stay away from my son. ” •You make it sound like a prison term! You don’t understand, Neil! You have opportunities that I never even dreamt of, and I am not going to let you waste them! ” •It’s so beautiful… Neil wouldn’t have done it, it was his father. ” •It was Mr Keating’s blatant abuse of his position as teacher that lead directly to Neil Perry’s death • Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary. ” •Now in my class you will learn to think for yourselves again.
You will learn to savour words and language. ” • And you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be? ” • I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. ” •”You must strive to find your own voice. The longer you wait the less likely you are to find it. ” It was Mr Keating’s blatant abuse of his position as teacher that led directly to Neil Perry’s death. The death of Neil was one of the blatant, yet unanticipated tragedies of Peter Weir’s film Dead Poet’s Society”. The actual notion as to why Neil would go to such lengths is a moot point in the film.
Mr Keating had a fundamental, but unintentional role in Nil’s death. Mr Keating’s profound ideals for making the most of life were, at times, used for reckless behaviour by Neil; in lying to Mr Keating, his father and himself. Neil was not able to fully voice his opinions or have a say in his future because of his overbearing father. Neil constantly lived in the shadow of Mr Perry, as if to follow his every move and when Neil decides to defy his father, calamitous events follow. All in all, the cause of Neil’s death was deliberate; essentially it could have been avoided.