An Archetypal Point of View An archetype can be found in a book, short story, or a movie, but it must contain specific elements. Most archetypal works contain a general "fight, flight, learn, return" pattern apparent physically or emotionally. Symbolic people, places, and objects can be found in an archetypal works also. Gladiator fulfills all of these requirements; therefore, it is an excellent example of an archetypal movie.
Maximus Dessimus Meridius is the main character and the hero in the film Gladiator directed by Ridley Scott. He is given instructions by Emperor Marcus Aurelius to return Rome to the people because of the corruption by the leaders. While thinking about the Emperor's decision Maximus is awakened to discover the emperor has been "slain" by his son Commodus; therefore, nobody knew of the Emperor's wishes for Maximus to succeed him instead of Commodus. This sets off Maximus' quest for vengeance. His journey does stay true to the "fight, flight, learn, return" pattern. After the death of the true Emperor, Commodus orders Maximus be killed. He is taken into the wilderness by four guards, but he fights for his freedom and manages to escape with only one wound on his arm. Then he advanced to his home to find his wife and son dead. After burying them he is taken and sold to Proximo, a man who makes men fight as gladiators. Here he learns how he is to avenge the Emperor's death and give Rome back to the people. Then he returns to Rome as a gladiator and kills Commodus in a battle with all of the people of Rome watching at the Coliseum.
Specific characteristics are needed for a character to be considered as an archetypal person. Emperor Marcus Aurelius would be the herald in this film because he announces the challenge that begins Maximus' journey. Commodus was Maximus' opponent throughout the movie; therefore, making him a shadow. When Maximus' is first beginning to be a gladiator, Proximo, the threshold guardian, proves that the journey...
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