90056 Themes

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Themes
Theme
Characters Involved
Events that show the theme
Relevant Quotes
Perseverance
(Fighting
despite the
odds/adversi
ty)
Maximus:
Won’t rest until
1. He kills Commodus
(revenge)
2. He gives Rome
back to the people
(his commission)
3. Lucius is safe
(Since he couldn’t
save his own son)
 Marcus death and
Maximus’ betrayal
 The murder of his own
family
 Captured and sold into
slavery/fighting
 Battle of Carthage
 Battle against Tigris
 His life is threatened
 Fights the Emperor with
his side pierced
“I am Maximus Decimus
Meridius, commander
of the armies of the
north, father to a
murdered son, husband
to a murdered wife,
and I will have my
vengeance – in this life
or the next”
NB: The more the movie
progresses, the more alone
he is when he fights
“What am I to do with
you, you just won’t die”
“He’ll be forgotten
sooner than that… it’s
been arranged”
“Lucius is safe now”
Lucilla
 Death of her father by her
brother, now Emperor
 Threat of her son being
next in line for throne
 Commodus discovers her
treachery
 Gives Rome back to the
people
(Slap) “Hail Caesar”
“I live in a prison of
fear because my son is
heir”
“You’ve been a busy
little bee”
“You’ll watch me bathe
in his blood”
“Is Rome worth one
good man’s life? Help
us believe it again”
Techniques that
illustrate theme
Costuming:
Reflects both his
situation and his
increasing influence: the
more power he has, the
more his costume
improves generally
Special Effects:
Emphasise the odds he
has to overcome:
Emphasises the vastness
of the Coliseum
Adds to the
intensity/pressure he is
under
Adds to the influence he
can have.
Costuming:
(see earlier notes):
Wealthy
Darkness descends
Commodus’ Queen
Bondage/Ties
Gold, No Ribbons, No
Jewellery
Theme
The
Destructive
Power of
Jealousy
Characters Involved
Events that show the theme
Commodus
 Father disapproves of him
 Father loves Maximus more
 Father chooses Maximus as
the Guardian of Rome
 Lucilla’s feelings for
Maximus
 Crowd favours Maximus
 Lucius favours Maximus
 The Senators favour
Maximus
Relevant Quotes
“Commodus is not a
moral man”
“I have other virtues”
“You (Maximus) are the
son I should have had”
“You will not rule. Rome
is to become a republic
again”
“My father loved you
(Maximus), I loved you”
“Maximus! Maximus the
Merciful”
“Maximus the saviour
of Rome”
“I’ll be cheering for
you Spaniard”
“Marcus trusted you
(Maximus), Lucilla
trusts you, I will trust
you”
Techniques that
illustrate the theme
Costuming:
Dark costume (Black
sheep of the family)
Part Senator, part soldier
costume (Hitler
reference)
NB: The people love the
Senate and Maximus the
soldier, he’s trying to be
both
Darker, softer costume =
descent into jealousy and
paranoia
Pure white
costume/armour = trying
to be Maximus the
saviour (Jesus reference)
of Rome
Additonal Notes:
Perseverance
Throughout the entire film, we see the importance of perseverance to a person's survival in the worst situations. Maximus faces life with
a strong-willed perseverance that encourages those around him. Even when things become unbearable and seemingly impossible, Maximus
stays strong.
Maximus finds that his Emperor is murdered and then Commodus comes after his life as well. When Maximus tries to return home to
protect his family, he finds that they are already dead as well. Once he realizes that he has been taken into slavery, Maximus loses his
faith for a while. He fights in the gladiator fights but he despises the spectators who gloat over the deaths of others.
However, once Maximus discovers that he has the opportunity to once again face Commodus, he begins to perform well so that one day he
can compete in Rome before the Emperor. Maximus realizes that succeeding as a gladiator is his only chance for revenge against
Commodus for the deaths of Marcus Aurelius and his family. In addition, Maximus realizes that the only hope for Rome is to have a
better Emperor than Commodus. Maximus remains faithful to his goals throughout the film. His perseverance is to be admired as he
stays committed to his goals even when the odds against him seem impossible.
The Destructive Power of Jealousy
Commodus is destroyed by jealousy. Commodus harbors jealousy for everyone, but especially for Maximus. Maximus is loved by both
Marcus Aurelius and Lucilla while Commodus is held in contempt by both. Over time, Commodus becomes more and more consumed with
jealousy for Maximus and the love that he garners from everyone.
Eventually, Commodus jealousy leads him to murder his own father and to kill Maximus and his family. Commodus shows no regret for his
actions and seems to blame everyone else for his place in life. He considers himself to be innocent since he does not believe that he was
loved as he should have been loved.
Not only does Commodus destroy his family and Maximus' family, but also he begins to destroy the nation. In order to entertain the
people, Commodus brings back the degrading sport of gladiator fighting. When he discovers that Maximus is still alive and winning the
praise of all the people, Commodus is once again consumed by jealousy. Even his nephew, Lucius adores Maximus, and Commodus cannot
deal with the rejection. Finally, he seeks any way possible to kill Maximus and ensure that this time he will die. Although Commodus does
kill Maximus, he does not survive to enjoy his victory. Commodus is destroyed, both physically and spiritually, by his own jealousy.