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Gladiator Movie Summary Essay

In the film Gladiator, Marcus Aurelius the Emperor of Rome chooses the victorious general Maximus Decimus Meridias instead of his own son Commodus to be his heir. Due to the lack of power Commodus was given, he condemned Maximus and his family to death. Commodus could not take the fact that his father did not choose him over Maximus so he decided to end his life by strangling him. Since Marcus Aurelius was dead, there was no possible way for rest of Rome to find out what his true dieing wishes were. Commodus made it perfectly clear to everyone that his father wanted him to take over after he passed away, because he knew people would believe him rather than Maximus. Maximus was unable to save his wife and son’s life, since Commodus got to Spain first. Once he witnessed their dead bodies hanging, back in Spain, he fainted which caused him to be captured. Once Maximus was taken into slavery, he was being trained as a gladiator by Proximo. Maximus had a strong hope that one day he would be able to escape and finally get his revenge on Commodus. Maximus wanted to take the name as Emperor away from Commodus, just as Marcus Aurelius wished, just as much as he wanted to see his family again. Under the rule of Commodus, Rome called Proximo’s troupe to participate in battles. While they were in Rome, Maximus plotted a plan to overthrow the emperor, with the help of his former-love Lucilla, Commodus’ sister. While Maximus was tied up, Commodus paid a visit and not only invited Maximus to a match between the two of them, but he stabbed him in the side, without anyone knowing. During their intense battle, Maximus was able to stab and kill Commodus, but died shortly after due to the stabbing that took place before the battle.

Before the battles, they would say ‘strength and honour’ to each other, for encouragement. Before Maximus’ escape, the other men said that quote to him to give him more strength and to reassure him that everything would be alright.

Maximus said that 2000 of his men will not leave the battle, meaning they will fight to the death for Rome.

Maximus tells Quintus to promise him that he will look after his family. Quintus totally went against Maximus by said he would be able to look after his own family in the after life. As in, they would all be killed.

When Maximus was captured after fainting, he was being held as a slave, and Commodus’ sister Lucilla went to visit him.

Commodus’ sister Lucilla risked a lot, in order to help Maximus escape his new life as a slave.

Commodus was giving Lucius a “history lesson” right in front of Lucilla purposely. He tampered with the actual story, in order to be able to refer it to her disloyalty towards him. His story led them both to tears.

Commodus stabbed Maximus while his arms were tied up, right before their fight, and he told him to smile for him now.

After Maximus killed Commodus he told Quintus to free all of the slaves. Shortly after, he died and joined his family where they were waiting for him in heaven, just as that man had told him they would be.

A man had told Maximus that he would see his wife and son one day, but not yet. After Maximus died, that man went up to the ground where he was buried.

Areas of Focus Assignment


Maximus Decimus Meridius : Maximus was Rome’s greatest and most powerful general and warrior. Everybody honoured Maximus, including the Prince. He joined the army at the young age of 17 and grew to become an excellent fighter. His role in the movie was mostly based on his strength and power, but it did show his sweet side, towards his wife Cecilia. Maximus was asked by Marcus Aurelius to be named the next Caesar after his death, instead of his son Commodus. Marcus Aurelius was killed before he could tell anyone else about his request for Maximus. Maximus was later arrested by the guards, but returned home to find his family hung. Due to his exhaustion and suffering mentally and physically, Maximus fainted and was taken by thieves. The only desire that fuels him now is the chance to rise to the top so that he will be able to look into the eyes of the man who will feel his revenge. (Chris “Morphy” Terry, 2009). He was sold to the old gladiator Proximo, who gave him the name “The Spainiard.” After escaping, his fame came to be due to the many battles he fought, in stadiums all over the Roman world. Maximus died in the Colosseum, right after killing Commodus. His wish to have Rome return to a democracy was honoured.

Commodus : Commodus was so sure that he would become emperor of Rome after his father Marcus Aurelius died, but his father told him that he wanted to give his reign to Maximus. After learning this, Commodus lost all control and strangled his father to death. Even though his father wanted to have Maximus as emperor after him, Commodus took over since he killed his father and no one would be able to find out his true wishes. He was later killed by Maximus during their battle in the Colosseum.

Proximo : Proximo purchased Maximus when he was being sold as a slave by the thieves. Proximo tells Maximus, “Win the crowd Spaniard…. and perhaps you shall win your freedom.” ( Jlhurtado, 2009).

Costumes / Modes of Transportation

The movie was set back in the medieval age time period. Times were very different back then and this film proves that. Their modes of transportation were mostly by the horse and chariot, if they were not walking to their destination. The warriors used heavy equipment in order to protect themselves from their rivalry during battles. Every single person who went into battle wore some form of protection. Some of the warrior’s costumes consisted of helmets, shoulder and chest pads, armor, and shields. Some of the warrior’s weapons that were used during a battle were spears, archery, knives, and swords. The battles that were held in these sporting event arenas were not only man versus man battles, but also man versus animal. Depending on the type of battle that was about to take place, the costumes they wore would vary.


The Colosseum was a famous amphitheatre which was built to hold blood sport games, which also allowed for many spectators to watch while sitting in the encircling stands. Gladiatorial combats were the main event at the Colosseum and the events were usually held in the early evening. These stadiums set social control since they were indiscriminate. Whenever there was any public show, the first row of seats should be saved for senators, although these arrangements were not strongly enforced. There was not only man versus man battles but also man versus animal. The large audience enjoyed watching both and found them just as interesting as the other. Not every fight happened in a building, some of the gladiator fights took place in a forest. These battles that were fought were not only to gain power for one man, but for many people who went to watch these battles, they were seen as a form of entertainment.

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