A lot of people mainly live with material gaians as their primary focus. The two main protagonist in both The Apology and Gladiator found different ways to deal with this common way of life; they both go through life dangerous events, but they still they stand by their beliefs. I am going to talk about both individuals separately and list their distinct differences.
The principal protagonist in the Apology is Socrates, who is facing two main crimes. During his speech in his defense, we can see that Socrates is a man who is conducted by his conscience in all what he does. He is always seen to do good things and not harm. When Socrates started his speech, he first apologized for the style of talking that he has because he was not used to such environments. It was a clear and simple expression of having conscience and principles. Otherwise, he could have chosen not to apologize.
Socrates is on a especial mission from God to explore himself and other men as well. Socrates tells the story of Chaerephon who after questioning from the Oracle at Delphi on who was the most intelligent man in all Greece and got an answer telling that it was Socrates. Having heard this, Socrates is in doubt and goes to investigate, questioning people who are considered to be wise, which marks the genesis of his trouble with many people. Full of determination to verify his divine call, Socrates keeps on inquiring. His belief in divinity portrays that he is a man of conscience.
Socrates says that, during his inquiries, he was surprised by the reaction of some people whom he corrected saying that he would expect a wise person to see his/her mistake and correct it by him/herself instead of trying to get rid of the person correcting them. That is an act of having a conscience, since were his intentions evil, he would have mocked the so-called wise people publicly.
Another evidence of Socrates’ acts of conscience is that he doesn’t value material possessions. He says that one should invest heavily on his soul rather than accrue material possessions. However, he recognizes and appreciates all the wealth and glory of the city of Athens to show that he wasn’t against the leadership or way of life of its people. Such actions manifest clearly that he is a faithful man.
Socrates also says that he does not fear dying, saying that he prefers an honorable death over a low life. For this reason, he says that the judges should either give him capital punishment or honor him greatly for being of service to his city. Socrates refuses to pay a penalty or even to go to exile, for he maintains that he is innocent and loves Athens where he was born and raised.
Maximus, a former farmer turned general, is the protagonist in the film Gladiator. He has become the most successful general, and he is the most trusted by Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Maximus leads an army of thousands of men who revere him greatly; despite his power and success he remains loyal to his emperor. That is a proof that he is a man of conscience, for, with such power and respect, ousting Marcus Aurelius and taking over the seat would not have been a difficult job.
A moment comes when the emperor wants Maximus to take over as Caesar upon his death. Recognizing that the emperor has a son, Commodus, Maximus opts to go home to his family that he misses very much. That is an explicit portrayal of a lack of greed, for otherwise he would have quickly taken that seat with the emperor’s approval. Maximus, however, values his family above all else, which is a clear sign of his high level of conscience.
Due to jealousy and greed for power, Commodus has both his father and Maximus’ family killed. Maximus becomes a slave and then a gladiator to an entertainer by the name of Proximo. Maximus’ strong conscience gives him a hard time deciding whether or not to fight. After his last fight in the arena, Maximus has had the better of all his competitors and throws his sword to the audience screaming that he was not an entertainer. It shows how intense was the internal struggle he had within himself though he gallantly fought every battle and won.
Maximus’ quest for justice finally lands him in the biggest arena of all, the Colosseum. Here he has a chance to avenge the death of his family by fighting the new Caesar, Commodus, who took over after killing his father. After several fights, Maximus comes face to face with his adversary. He has lived and endured a lot of pain and suffering for a chance to ensure that justice prevails for the killing of his family. Though weak and wounded, he finally manages to kill the Emperor but falls to his death too. His quest for justice had made him fearless of death, so he literally fights to his last breath to see that justice prevails.
The two protagonists do, however, have some differences. To begin with, Maximus is a man of power whereas Socrates is just a mere man. Socrates is seen to have a religion-based belief whereas Maximus just has a belief in justice which has nothing to do with religion. Another difference is that Maximus is vengeful whereas Socrates does not retaliate when accused. Finally, Maximus agrees to be exiled when he was a slave, while Socrates prefers to be killed instead of going away from his hometown.
It is a rather attractive feature for one to stand for what they believe in, as portrayed by the two protagonists in their respective stories. Both stand for what they believe in to their last breath and do not cower when threatened with death. It encourages one to value courage, wisdom, and perseverance above all else.