29th June 2018

L3 English, Gladiator

In the Gladiator, Maximus is an example is an Aristotle tragic hero. An Arisitoliean tragic hero possess’s five specific characteristics; hamartia, peripeteia, anagnorisis, hubris, nemesis.

Hamartia is a flaw or error of judgment. Peripeteia is a reversal of fortune brought about because of the hero’s error in judgment. Anagnorisis is the recognition that the reversal was brought about by the hero’s own actions. Hubris is the protagonist’s excessive pride. Nemesis is the character’s fate must be greater than deserved. This is not really a ‘trait’, more of an event. However, the tragic hero faces their fate with honor and acceptance. There are different moments from the film when Maximus displays that trait.

Maximus displays traits of a tragic hero during different moments of the film:
Hamartia– Maximus’s tragic flaw is loyalty and dedication to ending corruption in the empire.
Peripeteia– Maximus, who was once a general, and declines becoming the ruler of Rome from Marcus, becomes a slave over the rule of Commodus. Maximus’s reversal of fortune from general to slave is an example of peripeteia.
Anagnorisis– After leading the slaves to freedom and defeating Commodus in the final battle, Maximus finally brings freedom back into Rome just as Marcus says at the beginning of the movie.
Hubris– Maximus always fights with honor as general and as a slave. He always has Rome at heart and is completely the opposite of Commodus. This pride that Maximus has is an example of Hubris.
Nemesis– There are many moments in the film when this trait/event occurs. At the end of the film, Maximus has a final battle with Commodus. Maximus’s fate is that he dies, this fate is not what the audience wanted and is greater than what he deserves, however, he takes his death with pride and carry’s out Marcus’s wishes from the beginning of the film. This is an example of Nemesis.

Do you believe that the plot of the film adheres to Aristotle’s rule? Justify your response with evidence from the text.

I believe the plot adheres to Aristotle’s rule. The Gladiator plot is based around one main character; Maximus. Maximus follows the rules of a tragic hero set in place by Aristotle. Because the movie is based around him I believe the plot adheres to Aristotle’s rule. A summary of the plot also states “Set in Roman times, the story of a once-powerful general forced to become a common gladiator. ” Proving Maximus is the main character.

Note down the climax and the ‘final moment of suspense’ in Gladiator. 

The climax of the film is the moment when things start to change for the character. In the Gladiator I believe this is the moment when Maximus becomes a leader in the Coliseum and defeats the enemy no one expected as a Gladiator. The moment of suspense is when things seem to potentially work out for the protagonist. This moment is the final fight that Maximus has with Commodus, as the audience we want and expect him to win and survive, he does win however does not live. Maximus’s death gives the audience a feeling of Catharsis. These two moments together also allow the audience to have a feeling of catharsis. The climax and suspense allow the audience to believe that the tragic hero may not face his final fate and gives us hope. When the tragic hero (Maximus) finally faces his fate the feelings of the audience are strong because we feel a connection with the protagonist.

When we think about our villains in King Lear (Edmund, Goneril, Regan), what similarities can you draw between them and Commodus? What are their motives? Any particular actions or language that they do/say that are similar?

The similarity between the villains in King Lear (Edmund, Goneril, Regan) and the villain in Gladiator (Commodus) is that their motives were the same; they both want power. In King Lear, the villains want to take control of the kingdom with Lear out f the picture, just as Commodus wants to be the ruler of Rome with Maximus dead. These villains want power because they are cowards.
Their actions and language are the same in which they look down on people and don’t speak the truth or from their hearts. Power is all that they think about.

Reflect on the meaning and importance of the following things presented to use through the melody and spectacle of Gladiator: 

The storm:



The Animals in the movie such as the German shepherd at the beginning, the horses, and tigers in the Coliseum all represent Maximus’s connection he has with the natural world. This is also represented with dirt when Maximus picks up a small handful before each of his battles. This representation of his connection to the natural world suggests that he has a heroic naturalness and everything he does, such as love his family and fight with honor, are all natural.

Names and Nobody:


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