Analyzing Gladiator (film)
1. The story took place in Rome, one of the premier civilizations and most influential empire that was ever built. The gladiator takes setting in the Roman coliseum where people are battling each other to death for the entertainment of the Royal Class. This was an inhumane practice but was well accepted during the time of the Roman Emperors because it affirms the status and societal class that they belong to. The life of people is equal simply to their entertainment. The historical side of the film was reliable as it speaks of the customs and lifestyle of Romans at that time, the Roman society was depicted vividly incorporating historical events like the Battle of Zama and the Fall of the Roman Empire. Maximus is a fictional character but resembles other historical figures like Narcissus, Spartacus and Cincinnatus.
2. The main plot is about the way Romans lived. It highlights the differences between the lifestyle of the Royal and the common people, but more importantly it speaks of the many ordeals that soldiers need to face and accept. Maximus is a Roman soldier who was serving the empire; he was an outstanding leader ergo was noted and admired for it. She has earned the respect of the emperor himself which is why envious people within the kingdom pulled him down. Gladiator speaks of the life of a hero, the spirit of Maximus which was never daunted. After being sold in North Africa to be a gladiator, he remained to have the attitude of a Roman General.
3. The Characters:
Maximus Decimus Meridiusa – He is the Roman General who served the Roman Empire in fighting the Germanic tribe in AD 180. Because of his courage, strength and leadership he was admired by everyone including the emperor himself, Marcus Aurelius. He was seen as a credible leader not only in the battlefield but in politics as well which is why he was appointed by the emperor; its purpose was more than rewarding a good man like Maximus but to revive the power of the Roman Senate and eventually re-empowering the Roman Republic. The emperor knows that he needs an upright man to do this job, thus he chooses Maximus. But Maximus is a simple man whose dreams are very simple, upon the offer of the emperor he refuses it instantly as his wish is to be with his family. Later on he seeks revenge as he was sold as gladiator.
Marcus Aurelius – He is the emperor of Rome; A kind and positively traditional leader who looks after the welfare of the state. His character as built largely on traditional customs and beliefs, he is a benevolent and respected man but is old and dying. But his old age brings him only with a keen mind in making decisions. He favors meritocracy (when he chooses Maximus over Commodus, his son) as he knows that Commodus will bring only downfall to the empire.
Commodus – He is the son of Marcus Aurelius. He is the perfect example of monarchs who are abusive of authority and driven only by the desire for power. He is the villain in the story; he harbors hatred for Maximus as he is given the trust to revive the Republic. Upon the death of his father (whom he murdered) he orders the execution of Maximus bridging Maximus’ unwanted journey to a gladiator school. But he was killed in the end of the story symbolizing that evil never triumphs over goodness.
4. The historical accuracy of Gladiator is very weak; this is because it was designed to be a film to entertain and to show the difficulties of being a gladiator (of people being used as toys for the entertainment of monarchs). The character of Maximus is fictional, it was not based on anything that can be supported by historical documents or facts but the traits and characteristics he showcases speaks of an ideal Roman General – brave, upright and consistent in his values. The practice of having gladiators is historically established yet related events shown in the film like a gladiator school in North Africa remains to be an idea in the dark.
5. Commodus is the most believable and accurate in portrayal. Though he is the villain in the story, he is the most human. It s very easy to assume, as history itself is a testament to this, that younger monarchs have a tendency to be lacks and abuse power. They live and feed on luxury and authority which is why it is very easy to support that Commodus can do what he had done in the film. It speaks of the ends that royalties are willing to take to be able to ascend to the throne. In addition, it is very human to be jealous over someone favored more by one’s own father. In this case, Maximus being chosen instead of Commodus speaks of parent-child issues as well – issues of trust and passing on responsibilities.
6. As a source of historical information this film, Gladiator can be a very good beginning. This is not something that presents all information in a rather heavy way. Instead there is entertainment. The ideas are presented according to a plot which is mainly made to entertain. It does not contain all necessary information to be adept in Roman history, but it is very helpful. It has all the vital information which will be useful for further studies as the viewer already have an understanding of what Roman lifestyle is. There are many events and practices which were considered normal during their time and are perceived as extreme in our time. Watching Gladiator not only provides a bird’s eye view of Roman culture, it also touches on attitudes and behaviors of people therefore touching on sociology and anthropology.