Gladiator- A Roman Tragedy

Maximus is the Protagonist in this film The Gladiator. Maximus’s main characteristic is his humbleness and acceptance of all that is going on around him. The inciting incident in The Gladiator would probably be when Aurelius tells Maximus he wants him to become the Lord and Protector of Rome. Maximu’s Hamartia is his loyalty, it becomes the ultimate fall to his death as a tragic hero. Hubris is excessive pride or confidence and Maximus always had excessive pride for Aurelies and Rome and this was also a massive feature in his downfall. Catharsis is used very well in this film in a way that you can feel pity for both the tragic hero and the tragic villain. The “en medias res” in Gladiator is the crucial point of action so when Maximus takes of his mask in front of the Emperor who thought he was dead but he cannot kill him because it is in front of a large audience.

en medias res

To what extent does the Gladiator use en medias res

The Gladiator uses en medias res in the middle of the movie through the film techniques; close ups, tracking shot because en medias res is used when Maximus finally takes his mask off in front of the emperor and the close up shows that Commodus, the emperor in pure terror. This en medias res is one of the prime moments in the film. It is like the beginning of the end but int he middle of the narrative.

Do you believe that the plot of the film adheres to Aristotle’s rule?

Aristotle’s rules:

  • A single action represented as occurring in a single place and within the course of a day.
  • Unity of action
  • Unity of place
  • Unity of time

I do not think that the plot of the film adheres to Aristotle’s rule because The Gladiator is set over more like a week and in different places with different actions with many plot twists.

Three most important aspects of Tragic hero in my opinion:

  • Hero must be doomed from the start, but bears no responsibility for possessing his flaw.
  • Hero’s story should arouse fear and empathy
  • The hero must have a weakness, usually it is pride.

Maximus demonstrates the first one because as soon as the emperor, his mentor passes away/ is murdered you can see that maximus is in danger from the Commodus and his flaw is pride and he does not hold responsibility for this as it would have developed as he lived his life serving the old Emporor and having real loyalty for him. Maximus’s story does arouse fear and empathy because throughout the whole of the movie there is always an aspect of fear for the fate of Maximus as the actions and events just go down hill from the beginning with little spikes of hope popping up. he also arouses empathy because he has a rough story, everything that happens to him from the very beginning is constant heartbreak and disappointment for him so as the audience, we empathize for this Tragic hero. Maximus definitely has a weakness and it is either pride or loyalty, he will always have enough pride to be loyal to the Emperor and lives his life on the basis of that and revenge. His weakness is also his fatal floor which leads to his ultimate downfall. Pride. His pride is incredibly excessive as you can see from the fact that as soon as he had suspicion or murder of the emperor he spoke up straight away and also the fact that he would not give up until he had revenge for his families assassinations, a life ruined.

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