John Keating is the charismatic, energetic English teacher who inspires the students of Welton Academy to rebel against their families and other teachers. His name echoes that of John Keats, the famous English Romantic poet… (read full character analysis)
Todd is a new student at Welton, having transferred from another, less prestigious school. He doesn’t get along with his parents, who, he feels, favor his older, more academically successful brother, Jeffrey Anderson. At Welton… (read full character analysis)
Neil Perry is a popular, idealistic student at Welton, and one of Keating’s most loyal disciples. As Todd Anderson’s roommate, Neil is instrumental in inspiring Todd to be bolder and more confident. For… (read full character analysis)
Charlie is a student at Welton, and comes from a rich, successful family. He’s more openly disobedient than his Welton peers, although for most of the book, he’s shown to be just as frightened of… (read full character analysis)
Richard Cameron (who just goes by “Cameron”) is a stiff, overly obedient student at Welton, and one of the novel’s most overtly villainous characters. Unlike his classmates, Cameron is skeptical of John Keating from the… (read full character analysis)
The headmaster of the prestigious Welton Academy, Nolan is a severe, strict man, who governs Welton with an iron fist and has boundless respect for the school’s tradition. Nolan hires John Keating following the retirement… (read full character analysis)
A Latin professor at Welton, and a colleague of John Keating, McAllister is shown to be highly skeptical of Keating’s unconventional teaching methods, despite finding them enjoyable and entertaining. While McAllister seems to be… (read full character analysis)
The elderly English teacher who retires from Welton Academy, setting in motion the plot of the novel.
The oldest living alumnus of Welton Academy, who makes an unintelligible speech for the beginning of the school year.
The spoiled, arrogant son of the wealthy Danburry family, and, for most of the novel, Chris Noel’s boyfriend.
Chet Danburry’s 15-year-old sister, who later takes a part opposite Neil Perry in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and begins to date Charlie Dalton.
A beautiful young woman who is dating Chet Danburry at the beginning of the novel, but who eventually leaves Chet for Knox Overstreet.
Welton Academy’s strict, severe math teacher.
A friendly, intelligent Welton student who joins the Dead Poets Society after being inspired by John Keating’s lessons.
A Welton student who joins the Dead Poets Society after being inspired by John Keating’s lessons.
The wife and secretary of Headmaster Gale Nolan.
The older brother of Todd Anderson.
Chet Danburry’s father, and a friend of Knox Overstreet’s father.
Chet Danburry’s mother.
A Welton “townie” who accompanies Charlie Dalton to a meeting of the Dead Poets Society.
A Welton “townie” who attends meeting of the Dead Poets Society and later kisses Charlie Dalton.
Todd Anderson’s father.
Todd Anderson’s mother.
Neil Perry’s mother.
Great 19th century American poet whose radical works, including “Song of Myself” and “O Captain! My Captain!” were deeply inspirational to many of the 20th century’s most iconoclastic writers and thinkers, as well as John Keating.
English Romantic poet.
17th century English poet and humorist.
W. E. Henley
19th century English poet whose short inspirational poem, “Invictus” is quoted in the novel.
Early 20th century poet whose works are often celebrated for their chant-like quality.