Monday, July 21, 2014

TODAY'S NUGGET: Dead Poets' Society (1989) - Why Keating is A Great Antagonist

[Quick Summary: A boarding school English teacher inspires a group of students to take charge of their lives.]

Oh, Mr. Keating is such a great antagonist!

Can you see how he gets the wheels turning in the boys' heads?

ex.  "INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY

Keating paces around the class, teaching.

KEATING: A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don't use very sad, use --

Keating snaps his fingers and points to Knox.

KEATING: Come on Overstreet, you twirp.

KNOX: ...Morose?

KEATING: Good! Language was invented for one reason, boys --

He snaps his fingers again and points to Neil.

NEIL: To communicate?

KEATING: No. To woo women. And, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won't do in your essays.

Keating paces then suddenly leaps onto his desk."

He is a passionate teacher who makes learning fun.
---> Which gets the boys to think differently.
---> Which stirs up their desire for "carpe diem" adventures.
---> Which provokes change in the boys...even when Keating is not on screen.

Could any antagonist ask for more?

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: An antagonist's job is to change the protagonist. 

I believe bonus points are in order if the antagonist is long gone from the screen, and he's STILL changing the protagonist.

Dead Poets' Society (1989)(undated)
by Tom Schulman

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