“Mr. Keating was the cause of the negative events that occur in the film.” Do I agree with that? Of course not. As far as I am concerned, he was just doing his best to help those kids, trying to do his job as well as he could, and putting every effort in encouraging his pupils to think by themselves, something that certainly no other teacher did. Is that bad? No, definitely not. Was he, maybe, too enthusiastic at his endeavour? Maybe, yes. But, this alleged excess (a verdict I don't agree with) should be rather seen as natural and logic to counterweight the excesses in those good golden days: teachers and parents were too strict, too tough and too authoritarian with those kids; and that was no good either.
Personally, I think that having different ways of thinking is great and it makes this world better. Each one of us sees the world from a different perspective and everyone has their own opinion. Sometimes we all agree, sometimes we don’t. What makes us unique and valuable as individual persons are those different thoughts, those new ideas or feelings that grow from ourselves. Mr. Keating was just trying to show that to his class, to help them find their own likes and dislikes, to trust themselves and to see that as richness instead of a kind of sin.
Sometimes we are too afraid of thinking, like Todd, and we just do what people tell us. Sometimes we just need something, a little of inspiration, a little spark, to help us get rid of this overwhelming feeling of guilt and insecurity, and start making ourselves owners of our lives, like Neil did. Sometimes we are Romeos, like Knox, but we need that Julieta for getting up. Like Nuwanda, sometimes we are just crazy from the beginning, and we don’t fear anything for being ourselves. However, sometimes we are like Cameron, and we do what we're told to, without breaking any rule or disobeying.
With that kind of teachers, or parents, most kids would adopt Cameron's attitude and I don’t blame they for it. It is the easiest way: you obey, you don't have any problems. Is it always easy to obey though? That would be another question.
We all had, are having, or will have a moment in our lives that will make us take the control of it, impose and talk by ourselves. We won’t need anybody for that. Was “Mr. Keating” ’s role helpful to Neil and to the rest of his roommates for waking up? Yes. But if there had not been any “Mr. Keating” in that school, somewhere they would have ended up finding another person that would have make them arrive to that same point and make them suck out the marrow of life. Life offers us many opportunities to realise that we are actually capable of writing the script of our own lives, it is not an unexpected muse the one which makes the pen write, as it was not Mr Keating the one who pulled the trigger: we're more awake than we think and that others think!, also, we are many who are awake, we just don't see it, we don't trust ourselves and it is certainly much easier or faster or less painful to take that big step forward if someone is there by our side, something is there to remind us of our duty with ourselves, a 'something' or 'someone' that help us feel we're not alone and that we can and deserve it.
Like it or not, Neil is the one to blame for his own suicide. When Neil went to the English teacher for advice, he was told to confront his father, and he didn’t. It was Neil who chose to go behind his dream, like Keating told him, following the wrong road, like Keating told him NOT to do. We can’t blame another person for our mistakes, perhaps Mr Keating shouldn't have pushed those kids to pursue their wishes so intensely and seize the day without analysing all possible consequences, but where would be the freedom then? Because that is all what this is about: about taking decisions, taking risks and foreseeing and assuming consequences. That is all what this is about: freedom. Freedom is not free of pain and it is rarely the easy way, it is simply freedom.