Who said it?: Maximus Decimus Meridius
The story behind the quote: The quote comes Ridley Scott’s Gladiator starring Russell Crowe as Maximus, the titular “Gladiator” of the film. The movie is about a former Roman general who, because he didn’t give his fealty to Commodus (played by Joaquin Pheonix) and after some heartbreaking events, became a gladiator in the Roman colosseum.
The quote comes after one of Maximus’ early gladitorial fights. After handily defeating several other well-armed opponents and disrespecting the governor, Maximus turns to the crowd and delivers the quote.
Geek wisdom: People do find pleasure in watching mayhem. It’s a part of human nature. No matter how hard you want to deny it, there is a certain allure about it. However, just because it look enticing, that doesn’t mean we should perform random acts of violence.
Real life violence should only be used during desperate times and not for “entertainment” value.
3 thoughts on ““Are you not entertained?””
Yes and no. I do think that Maximus is making an angry statement on the ugly side of Colloseum brutality, being “entertained” by violence and giving them a taste of their own medicine. But remember that this is the first time int he movie (and in Roman history) that the prisoners have fought back and won. So alongside his puffing his chest a bit, he’s also putting a different, more desperate angle on display – he’s actually trying to save his own life.
And the life-saving angle is that a meager group of prisoners can rise up and defeat the most dangerous group of warriors in the world, aka gladiators. He confidently proposes that what just happened is just as engrossing a sight as that of the predictable gladiator destroying a bunch of non-warriors. It’s worth a repeat-view!
So while he’s prodding them and boasting, he’s also legitimately asking the crowd “Are you not entertained?” Maximus is counting on that bloodthirsty crowd responding with cheers of affirmation to want him back, to be the David to multiple goliath’s, and therefore not be put to death for this audacious victory against the odds. It’s a pretty gripping scenario.
You are half right. He isn’t expecting the response from the blood thirsty group., but then when he does see it, in that moment he realizes what he must do and how he can use their need to see and delight In “mayhem” to his and the fellow prisoners advantage.
So I recently discovered a similar quote in an old Marvel comic from May 1973. It’s called Amazing Adventures and it is issue #18, the first appearance of Killraven. One character takes the mayor of a ruined city in the year 2018 prisoner, after Earth has been taken over by the Martians from ‘War of the Worlds’. He asks him, “Aren’t you entertained?” So I’m wondering if whoever wrote that line for the screenplay was a Marvel fan and had actually read that specific comic and had remembered it and wanted to use such a great line in their movie. Just a little bit of trivia I thought I would share.