How is Neil's decision to try out for the play a clear example of "carpe diem" and it's underlying transcendentalsit meaning in "Dead Poet's Society"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Neil best represents the Transcendental idea behind "carpe diem" because of his actions reflecting the pure need for individuality.  Neil understands the fundamental risk of pursuing his passion for acting.  He knows his father will dislike his decision and voice his discontent.  He also knows that in pursuing acting, he is breaking free from the social dictates that have been placed on him.  In trying out for the play and eventually acting as Puck in the production, Neil is representing the Transcendental idea of individuality, embracing a path that few others take in the name of one's own subjective voice.  At the same time, his enactment of "carpe diem" is one in which he fully seizes the moment presented to him.  The auditions are there and he does not pass on them.  He goes for it.  The passion and zeal with which he throws himself in the auditions not only results in him getting the part, but represents the Transcendental idea of how "carpe diem" demands that individual subjectivity is the driving force behind individual being in the world.

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