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Essay on Hidden Sexual References in Gladiator

In the movie Gladiator there are a variety of apparent and hidden sexual references. The first one to be noticed is the attraction that the new Emperer Commodus has for his sister. This is an incestual reference. When Maximus wins one of his gladiator matches, his master asks him is he wants anything, such as a girl, or boy. Rome to many was the first true society of open sexuality. Those of non mainstream sexuality often site Rome as evidence that such paths of choice were once celebrated rather than scorned. The Roman's are famous for their orgies and for their same sex relations. A popular saying many attribute to the Romans is "Men for love, women for sex." That typifies that unique concepts of sexuality the Romans may have had, and that this film demonstrates. One also will question why males were dressed up as females for plays. Naturally that could be considered an action to accomodate for the fact that women could not legally be in plays. But this still makes one wonder about the crossdressing nature which may or may not have been quite common in Roman times. The way that dying Emperer Marcos tells his daughter he wishes she were a boy to serve Rome more gracefully foreshadows an additional possiblity the film may have had in mind the audience deducing. In addition to stating this, Marcus also tells his daughter to always take care of her brother. The fact that her brother had been playing sexual games with her for some time, makes one wonder if the film is hinting at the possiblity that the father know of this and even encouraged it. Like any movie, Gladiator is just a movie, and speculations and heresay rather correct or incorrect only showcase its ability to spark human creativity and imagination. In this way the film approaches a cerebal artistry that few will ever grow tired of stuying or thinking about.

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