The Emperor's Club
William Hundert: Aristophanes once wrote, roughly translated; "Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but STUPID lasts forever."
William Hundert: Excuse me?
Louis Masoudi: Huh? What me?
William Hundert: Yes, sir. What is your name?
Louis Masoudi: Uh, Louis.
William Hundert: Just Louis?
Louis Masoudi: Louis Masoudi, sir.
William Hundert: Mr. Masoudi, could you define the word "path" for me?
Louis Masoudi: Well, there are several definitions, I suppose.
William Hundert: Would "a route along which someone or something moves" be among them?
Louis Masoudi: Yeah. Oh, yeah. No. Yeah. I'm s-sorry, sir.
William Hundert: Follow the path, Mr. Masoudi. Walk where the great men before you have walked.
Louis Masoudi: Yes, sir. It's, uh - It's better for the grass.
William Hundert: It's better for you.
William Hundert: Great ambition and conquest without contribution is without significance. What will your contribution be? How will history remember you?
William Hundert: However much we stumble, it is a teacher's burden always to hope, that with learning, a boy's character might be changed. And, so, the destiny of a man.
William Hundert: I'm a teacher, Sedgewick. And I failed you - as a teacher. But I will give you one last lecture, if I may. All of us, at some point, are forced to look at ourselves in the mirror, and see who we really are. And when that day comes for you, Sedgewick, you will be confronted with a life lived without virtue, without principle. And for that I pity you. End of lesson.
Sedgewick Bell: Well, can I say, Mr. Hundert, who gives a shit? Honestly. Who out there gives a shit.
William Hundert: I spoke to your father.
Sedgewick Bell: I know. We had a real... heart-to-heart.
William Hundert: This is for you.
[Hands textbook to Sedgwick]
William Hundert: Forgive the condition. It was my textbook in high school. It's quite good. The first chapter has an outline of all the material which we'll be covering this term. I thought it might be helpful in preparing for the Mr. Julius Caesar contest. The first quiz is tomorrow morning. Look at chapter 3 - - "The Foundation of the Republic." Sedgwick, I'm lending you this book because I believe in you. I think you could be at the top of your class if you wanted to be. It's entirely up to you.
William Hundert: Sir, it's my job to mold your son's character, and I think if...
Senator Bell: Mold him? Jesus God in Heaven, son. You're not gonna mold my boy. Your job is to teach my son. You teach him his times tables. Teach him why the world is round. Teach him who killed who and when and where. That is your job. You, sir, will not mold by son. I will mold him.
William Hundert: [discussing 41 specific emperors] Can you, please, name any of the subsequent emperor's whom we've been discussing? There were 41.
Sedgewick Bell: I only know 7.
William Hundert: Very well...
Sedgewick Bell: Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey...
William Hundert: Seriously though, can you in fact name any of the emperors?
Sedgewick Bell: I know 4.
William Hundert: Very well.
Sedgewick Bell: [in an English accent, counting off his fingers] John, Paul, Ringo
[closes all but the middle finger]
Sedgewick Bell: and George.
William Hundert: [teaching] And with the monarchy's demise, two new systems of government - the first, ruled by the few, known as? Mr. Brewster.
Robert Brewster: Uh, tyranny?
William Hundert: In spirit, perhaps, but etymologically, no. More precisely, oligarchy. Tyranny is what we have in this classroom. And it works.
William Hundert: The waters in which we found ourselves swimming, were precisely as lovely as those we had earlier only imagined. But if time had made concessions for love, it made none for death.