Revenge the Building Block
The term “Epic” tends to appeal to the general population of the world. It is my understanding that people love to watch films with big spectacle and great stories. They love to get lost in a world that takes them outside of themselves. Most of all, people love the themes represented in these “Epic” films. In the Ancient films we screened during this quarter, we screened the epic pictures of Ancient times. There have been many themes revolving around man’s most primal wants and desires. Themes such as; lust in Cleopatra, or Greed in Quo Vadis, are just examples of the basic primal wants that take over the screen. None of which is more prominent than revenge. The idea of revenge at first thought is trivial in my opinion. The thought of seeking vengeance for someone’s wrong doings against you seems childlike and un-motivational for a main character. However, after some thought, I wondered whether revenge was the real motivational tool to help them succeed in their quest. In films such as Spartacus, Gladiator and 300, the motif is apparent from the beginning of the film. Yet this motif wasn’t the driving motivation behind the main characters campaign. Rather, revenge served as the launching point for the real motivation, whether it was for revolution, regaining one’s honor, or being a symbol of hope, revenge was the building block. Revenge is a primal want of human nature, but what revenge can lead to is what defines you.
In the film Spartacus, the title characters deals against an enormous amount of odds to fight against social injustice. But what started this crusade? What is some mystical force of self- righteousness or some sort of predetermined destiny? No. The answer is neither, but rather a self- realization of what is true justice. However, how does Spartacus arrive at this realization? What motivational action could have sparked this revolution? The answer is revenge. The simplistic concept of revenge was the driving force behind Spartacus’ journey. From the beginning of the film Spartacus doesn’t enjoy his surroundings. He has been forced into slavery and is now a pawn for the entertainment for the, “upper class” of Rome. This angers Spartacus in a way that is all too familiar, and his burning desire for revenge is at the breaking point. That is until he is pitted against Draba in his first gladiator fight. The moment when Draba shows mercy on Spartacus is when Spartacus realized what he needed to do. His desire for revenge wasn’t enough, there needed to be more done. At that moment Spartacus realized that he needed to start a revolution.
In the year 1 BC, it has been documented that the Roman Empire had a staggering amount of slaves. According to an article by Jona Lendering, there was almost a ratio of 1:3 slaves in the Empire. That means 1 in every 3 people were being brutally treated, and there was a need for change. The film is based on this time period and on these events. “The movie is about revolution, and clearly reflects the decadence of the parasitical upper classes and the superior moral fiber of the slaves.” (Epert) Famous movie reviewer Roger Epert explains his opinion on the overall point of the film to which I agree. However, where does revolution derive from? Is it a spontaneous notion that comes from thin air? No. For every action there is also a reaction. Therefore, by the roman senate treating people like filth, they have dug their own hole and Spartacus has answered the call by being the face of this revolution. Spartacus’ longing for revenge for himself has somehow turned into something far greater. Before, Spartacus was a man of brash and quick decisions. He was a violent, egomaniacal bull, with one goal on his mind. That was to kill the people who had done him wrong and escape. Now, revenge for himself wasn’t enough to satisfy him, he wanted revenge for all the...