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An analysis of the media techniques employed to give the audience a negative impression of Commodus

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"An analysis of the media techniques employed to give the audience a negative impression of Commodus" Michael Rumbles - 10/1 English GCSE Coursework Essay - Media An analysis of the media techniques employed to give the audience a negative impression of Commodus From the start of the blockbuster and award winning film 'Gladiator', Ridley Scott uses many different media techniques to give a negative impression of Commodus, the physically strong yet emotionally weak son of Marcus Aurelius Caesar. Make up, lighting, sound effects, music, body language, speech and facial expression are all factors that director Ridley Scott invokes to give the audience an attitude of hatred and revulsion towards Commodus. All of these features develop along with the films plot, and by the dramatic ending there is little left to think about Commodus other than evil. From the start of the film where Commodus arrives late for the battle against the barbarians, we see that he not going to be or become the most loved character of all. His dark, deep-set eyes in contrast with his white, pale face already make you think that he is a horrible person. This clever use of Ridley Scott's make up direction means that you get an instant and accurate first impression of Commodus. Another thing that makes us despise Commodus is the fact that when he arrives late, he smirks and then goes up to his father and apologises for his tardiness. This shows us that Commodus is clearly a liar and is not ashamed of it in the slightest. The music and sound effects used in this scene have been very carefully selected. As the scene is introduced, the music is soft, droning, and slightly brooding, however as the scene develops, the music paces itself up, faster and with a lot more strength. When Commodus arrives in his horse drawn carriage, the music stops completely. ...read more.


Because Commodus has never been loved, he thinks that it is fine for himself to be sexually attracted to his sister. He tries to make love to her but she escapes without saying a word. Again, much like peadophilia, incest is a crime against nature and this also makes the audience look at Commodus in disgust. When watching the gladiators and Roman soldiers reenact the battle between the barbarians and Rome, Commodus demands that they salute to him before the violence begins. This again shows that he thinks he is better than everyone else and that they should look up to him. Secretly, Commodus arranged for the Romans to slaughter gladiators by giving them missile weapons and transport while the gladiators only had shields and swords. By doing this, it shows that Commodus it a sadistically psychotic person who loves to revel in blood and the suffering of others. As the violence develops, so does the music. To start with, the music booms as the camera looks over the 'Barbarians' waiting in anticipation, but once they enter the battleground, the music dies down as Commodus enters. Once the fighting begins, the music instantly starts up again. It is amazingly fast, much like the action, and dips up and down as the different teams get into the lead. When the camera looks over Commodus, the music fades a bit as he looks at the barbarians in disgust. As the fighting continues, the music becomes powerful, dominating and loud. During the fight, when people are killed violently and gruesomely, Commodus is sickeningly bloodthirsty, laughing and joking and pointing when a gladiator is killed, even once licking his lips when someone's throat is slit, but being sarcastically scared when a Roman soldier is killed, prancing around in his viewing box, waving his hands as if to stop someone, saying "Woo, ooh!" Proving to us that sarcasm really is the lowest form of wit, he acts childishly and immaturely infront of people of the highest respect. ...read more.


Commodus' attitude got him killed. When he is lying on the floor, dead, crumpled and bleeding, a wave of silence sweeps over the Colosseum where they were fighting. This is not because the people of Rome actually respected the emperor but just said they didn't to be on the same side as the Sennet, but because Maximus has defied them. He was called Maximus the Merciful because he let people live in the gladiator battle, and it disappointed them that the only person he killed was the emperor of Rome. But by this dramatic ending, all we can feel towards Commodus is hatred and seeing him die a gruesome and painful death gives the audience a great feeling of satisfaction. In the ending, Commodus' sister runs over to Maximus and cries over his death, not the ending of her brother's life. This is really the final point that shows us Commodus was hated by all and loved by no-one. Life like that would be pointless, and the fact that Commodus lived so long like that, gives us a final impression that he might not have been such a coward after all, and that he might have had some respect in him, but put in contrast with all the bad points he owned, this idea is quickly shoved out of the window. Put simply, the main reasons people do not like Commodus are the facts that he is bigoted, bigheaded, sadistic, immature, pathetic, sarcastic, childish, violent, incestuous, insane, disgusting, satanic and gruesome. All of these elements came together in the film to create an amazingly bad impression of Commodus. The camera angles in the film have been made to fit the scenes perfectly, with light and dark, and the music played and sound effects used are tremendous and go with what is going on in the film brilliantly. 'Gladiator' is an amazing film, filled with hatred, love and emotions. It broke records at the cinema and used over 30,000 gallons of fake blood and sweat to make. But in the end, it is a film the no one could ever forget. ...read more.

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