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 whose celebration of life and originality may have inspired Keating’s own. A former student of Welton, as well as a brilliant Rhodes scholar, Keating begins teaching at Welton in 1959 and immediately makes an impression on his students, who aren’t used to such exciting, fascinating lessons. Keating urges his students to “seize the day”—that is, do extraordinary, original things instead of merely imitating their teachers and parents. His example inspires the students to revive a secret society of which Keating was once a member—the Dead Poets Society. Keating’s emphasis on freedom and originality raise many eyebrows at Welton, a school that celebrates tradition above everything else. When his students begin to fight back against the Welton administration more and more overtly, Keating tries to convince his students to be more reserved and cautious in their behavior—significantly, he urges Neil Perry to talk to his father about his love for acting. After Neil’s tragic suicide—brought about in part because Neil did not talk to his father—Keating is blamed for “corrupting” his students, and fired from Welton.