Commodus changes for the worse. He is innately devious and this is not resolved throughout Gladiator. He identifies his main adversary as Maximus, his father's favourite, but in reality it is his own lack of moral fibre that is his greatest enemy. Maximus's fallicious death triggers a surge towards a more confident, vehement Commodus, but when Maximus resurfaces there is a resumption of his initial personality. As any emergence any improvement retracts.
Maximus's strengths are Commodus's weakenesses. Commodus realises this and holds Maximus in contempt. Maximus is everything Commodus aspires to be. Whilst Maximus's glass is full of orthodox qualities, Commodus's is almost empty, apart from a few unvirtuous qualities he embodies. It is this emptiness that makes his lack of moral fibre so transparent. Marcus Aurelius sees through the glass and intends to deny Commodus succession by reverting Rome to a Republic. It is here in Commodus's murder of his father that we see the true extent of his destructive capacity.
Maximus has the love of Lucilla, in which Commodus intensley desires. Maximus has the love of Aurelius, the kind of filial love Commodus has always longed for. Maximus has acceptance, the kind Commodus will never achieve because he is an effete. Maximus is loved, respected and is in commands of power, whereas Commodus is not. It is these intangible commodities that motivate Commodus to aspire to metaphorically become Maximus. He acknowledges Maximus's charisma as an obstacle and sets out to eradicate Maximus accordingly. He is however, unsuccessful in his plight.
Commodus indicts others as the cause of his deficency. He fails to recognise that his greatest obstacle is his inner-self. If he had identified the key to success as self-discovery, then he may have acheived his goals. Commodus does not however; and makes no...