Heroes of the Past Even though Maximus from the movie Gladiator and King Arthur do not seem to be alike, these two ancient heroes have some interesting similarities. This paper will compare Maximus from Gladiator and King Arthur from the book "The Death of Arthur." These men have a lot in common even though they are very different. Both of these men are on a quest for things of which they cannot control. Another way that they are similar is that they are both near perfect heroes. Finally, both of these two men are highly respected by their fellow warriors and allies.
In both of these stories, the men are both on a quest. In Gladiator, Maximus is on a quest to avenge the death of his wife and the death of his son. Maximus says this to Commodus (the Roman Emperor): "I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next" (Gladiator).
Maximus could not help the death of his wife and son because he is away in a war when they were killed. In "The Death of Arthur", King Arthur was on a quest to defeat sir Mordred and defend his kingdom. King Arthur has a dream of what will become his fate if he chooses to fight before a month and a day. Maximus is not able to see when he is going to die.
These two men are both nearly perfect heroes. Maximus was the general of the northern army before he became a gladiator. He has defeats many men in battle both in was and in the arena where the gladiators fight. Maximus would not have died if Commodus had not stabbed him in the back with a dagger. At the end of all of his battles, Maximus is left nearly untouched and is the winner. In King Arthur's case, he is the King of the Britons. He also has defeated many armies of people in the past. At the end of the battle between King Arthur's men and sir Mordred's men, he is one of the few left standing and furthermore, he has not been injured by anyone until he fights sir Mordred. These men are both mortal and have no magic powers that make them invincible in battle. This makes them both nearly perfect heroes. These men are just as vulnerable to being killed as anyone else on the battlefields. Both men end up dying because of wounds suffered in battle. Maximus is stabbed in the back by Commodus and still has the power to fight Commodus and defeat him. Once he kills Commodus, he falls down and dies. In King Arthur's case, once the battle between his army and sir Mordred's army is over, he spies sir Mordred and charges him in an attempt to kill him. He succeeds much like that of Maximus and Commodus. The blow that King Arthur takes that kills him takes place when sir Mordred realizes he has taken his death blow from Arthur and he takes his sword to the side of Arthur's head. These two near perfect heroes both die from battle wounds.
The last way in which I will point out similarities between these two is that they both have the utmost respect from their fellow men. Maximus gains the respect of his men when he is in the middle of a fight. He gathers all the men around in a group and says that together they have a better chance of surviving when they are in a group. King Arthur has the respect of his army in a different way. Once Arthur was injured in the head, sir Lucan and sir Bedivere carry him off and aide him in everything that the king asks. Sir Lucan is badly injured himself, but he still aides his king until Lucan finally dies himself. Arthur tells sir Lucan "Go thou and do me to wit what betokens that noise in the field" (The Death of Arthur 173). Maximus is respected by his fellow gladiators and also by the crowd. Once Maximus survives the un-godly odds of dying in the first few events, the crowd strongly supports him. Both men have the respect of nearly everyone who sees them.
In conclusion, the stories that these two men share are very similar. Both are on a quest, both are near perfect heroes, and both have the respect of nearly every person that knows them. Although they have some differences, these two stories and closely related and are excellent romances. Both of these two men have gone down in history as great heroes.
Work Cited 1) Malory, sir Thomas. "The Death of Arthur." Le Morte Dathur. Elements of Literature Sixth Course Literature of Britain with World Classics. Eds. Catholine Daniel, et al. Austin: Holt, Rihehart, and Winston, 2000 171-175.
2) Gladiator. Dir. Ridley Scott. DreamWorks, 2000.