I have watched the movie “Gladiator” many many times as am sure many of the readers have. It’s a brilliant movie showing the highs and lows of the Roman Empire. I am remembering the plot today, early in the morning.
Two incidents from the movie stand out – the great General Maximus Decimus Meridus who becomes a slave and a gladiator defeats another great gladiator the Tigris of Gaul who had been undefeated till then. While the crowd urges him to kill the defeated man, he doesn’t and that leads to crowd adulation. Then the Emperor Commodus feels he needs to be known as Commodus the Merciful 🙂 because he realises that the crowds love Maximus because he was merciful.
Just a little background for those who might have missed the movie – Commodus is Caesar Marcus Aurelius’ incompetent son. When he learns that his father is planning to hand over the reins of Rome to General Maximus and later to make Rome a republic, he kills him in cold blood … He then kills General Maximus’ wife and young son, before trying to hang him. Maximus escapes and finds his murdered family. He is then picked up by a travelling caravan of gladiators. Commodus forces his sister to be incestuous so he can have an heir of pure blood and nearly threatens his nephew that he will be killed if he doesn’t tell him about who his sister meets. Great man Commodus. From being a glorious Kingdom under Marcus Aurelius, Rome is reduced to a state of indulgence and parties and games of killing (gladiator duels) by Commodus. He finally tries to duel with Maximus and stabs him just before the duel hoping he would be able to beat him in the duel. But Commodus is killed by Maximus.
Now, the question is can Commodus ever hope to be called “merciful”?? Killing his own father, forcing his sister into a relationship she didn’t want, threatening a young boy who is his nephew and playing foul with the great General Maximus ? And should he be pardoned ? What message will it have sent to every child who watched the movie if Commodus was allowed to live – even in a prison ? That its ok to kill, be deceitful, dangerous to the society and ask for mercy because you admit to all the wrong doing – you won’t be killed, just put behind bars till you die naturally.
When people like Commodus are killed it sends the right message to the society and young minds in the society that going against the law, killing innocents or any indulging in acts of treason is wrong and you pay with your life !!
At 3.25 am today in room no. 4 the Supreme Court discussed the mercy petition of Yakub Memon and dismissed it at about 5 am. The man who helped kill 250+ people and injure 800+ and brought terrorism in the name of religion to India will hang after 23 years – all those opposed to hanging him, have mercy on the living and the young minds. This man deserves no mercy.
Another man has passed away and his last rites have to be done. Like General Maximus, this man is a great hero of India, probably the greatest in recent times – honor him and spend air time honouring him. Let’s not waste time on someone who is a villain and an anti-national. Let your child find the right idol.