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Hey, in case you haven't heard, Dalton. There's something called an honor code in this school, all right? If a teacher ask you a question, you tell the truth or you're expelled. (...) He's right there, Charlie. And if you guys are smart, you will do EXACTLY what I did and cooperate! They're not after us! We're the victims! Us and Neil.
~ Richard Cameron's true colors and betrayal.

Richard Cameron is the supporting character turned antagonist in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society.

He is a loyal and obedient student of Welton Academy and originally a member of the Dead Poets Society group until his betrayal following the news of Neil Perry's suicide, showing himself to be willing to assist Headmaster Nolan on firing John Keating.

He was portrayed by Dylan Kussman.

History

A student of the prestigious Welton Academy for boys, Richard Cameron is a cowardly guy who is afraid of getting in trouble, but decides to join the Dead Poets Society group because of his roommate Charlie "Nuwanda" Dalton.

Unlike his classmates, Cameron is skeptical for that he did not agree with the teachings of John Keating and echoes Headmaster Nolan’s criticism of Keating's unorthodox methods from the very beginning, even reluctant to tearing pages from a poetry book and asks whether he will be tested on the lesson about seizing the day.

He only followed along with Keating and the DPS members, since everyone else from his class did. While Cameron attends meetings of the Dead Poets Society, he does so very reluctantly, since he’s terrified of being caught and expelled from Welton.

After Neil Perry committed suicide as a result of his father forcing his son into military school after the play, Cameron plays an important yet betrayal role, that in his defense he blames Neil's death on Keating to escape punishment for his role in the Dead Poets Society, and reveals the club's secrets along with naming the other members to Mr. Nolan.

Dalton becomes enraged by Cameron's treachery but Cameron insensitively justifies his actions by blaming Keating for Neil's death by making him throw away his supposed dream in medical school along with his life, which was completely and obviously untrue. Driven to the edge by his extreme insensitivity towards Neil's dream of becoming an actor and complete disrespect for both Neil's demise and Keating's innocence, Dalton furiously punches his former friend and was expelled, which was actually turned out to be a good thing since at least Dalton can be human again outside the school.

After Keating is fired from Welton, Cameron along his classmates are now under Mr. Nolan's teaching at English class for the time being, who then gave a complete poetry book to Cameron after realizing they have skipped over realism which most of it were teared off earlier from Keating's orders.

Unlike the DPS members, Cameron (along with the other non-DPS members) did not rebelled at the end of the film, but was surprise after seeing his former friends does so in loyal to their former teacher. It's unknown what happens with Cameron afterwards, but it's fair to assume that the DPS members are no longer his friends and he's possibly alone.

Quotes

You just signed your expulsion papers, Nuwanda!
~ Richard Cameron, taunting Charlie Dalton for allowing himself to get expelled after slugging him.
You can't save Keating, but you can save yourselves!
~ Richard Cameron, telling the DPS members to accept the consequences and have John Keating fired.

Trivia

  • Cameron being the only DPS member not to rebel against Headmaster Nolan at the end was actor Dylan Kussman's idea. Originally, Cameron was supposed to stand on his desk in the final scene like the rest of the Society. However, Kussman felt that this would be out of character and said so to director Peter Weir. Weir agreed to Kussman's surprise and so they changed it to Cameron remaining seated.
  • His betrayal is foreshadowed at the start of the film when Cameron is holding the "Tradition" banner, which signify his loyalty to the school and Mr. Nolan.
  • He is one of the most hated characters in the movie not only due to his treachery but also his selfishness in victimizing himself and his other friends to make Mr. Keating unfairly fired. However, the most despicable act of him is that he completely disrespected both Neil's life-dream of becoming an actor and Keating's encouraging methods as Cameron painted Neil as a helpless person whose dream was to become a doctor only to be "corrupted" by Mr. Keating, which made Neil threw away both his life and career in doing so.

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