Maximus and Odysseus

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Maximus and Odysseus

While watching the film Gladiator with my girlfriend I realized the striking similarities that heroes share. However, I always wonder who is more of a hero. The definition or hero is a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life. So let us compare the two heroes as the dictionary defines them. In the end I hope to be able to define who is a greater hero.

Maximus was a great warrior in the Roman legion under Emperor Marcus Aurelius. His first courageous feat occurs when he defeats the last of the Barbarians of Germaina. Leading his army along a 12 year campaign he brought it to an end. Next he risks his life as he defies the new Emperor Commodus, knowing that this could mean death. Commodus was the only son of Marcus Aurelius. However Commodus killed his father and took the place of Caesar. During his second courageous act, his wife and only son are murdered and he is to be executed. This changing his journey home as I will discuss as we move on. Furthering his acts of heroism he manages to save the lives of many slaves by battling in the arena, saving a senator from execution, and avenging his wife and son by slaying the emperor. His acts of nobility occur when he saves the senator and fulfils the wishes of the dead Marcus Aurelius. He gives Rome back to the senate and returns the power back to the people. Maximus' continuing acts of selfless heroism and putting his life at stake for those who betrayed him make him great. His first act of selflessness occurred when he agreed to help out Commodus' sister, who knowingly let his child, wife, and almost himself be slain. He forgives her and agrees to meet with her senator to help give Rome back. His second act of selflessness occurred when he battled in the arena taking on 5 enemies while the other slaves stayed in the back of the entryway. Going to his journey home, he no longer needed to reach the olive fields...
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