Rise, rise. Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don’t think there has ever been a gladiator to match you. As for this young man. Lucius is now standing in front of Commodus, Commodus arms affectionately holding the boy close. COMMODUS He insists you are Hector reborn, or was it Hercules? Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name. You do have a name? MAXIMUS My name is Gladiator. He turns to leave, his back to Commodus. He will not attempt to harm Commodus with Lucius present. COMMODUS
How dare you show your back to me, Slave? You will remove your helmet and tell me your name. MAXIMUS My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor Marcus Aurelius…father to a murdered son…husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance in this life or the next. COMMODUS (whispering) Maximus. Maximus. Maximus. They call for you. The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. A striking story. beat) Now the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. And what could be more glorious than to challenge the Emperor himself in the great arena? Commodus places his finger alongside Maximus face, stroking his cheek as he speaks. MAXIMUS You would fight me? COMMODUS Why not? Do you think I’m afraid? MAXIMUS I think you have been afraid all your life. COMMODUS Unlike Maximus the Invincible, who knows no fear? MAXIMUS (laughing) I knew a man who once said, ‘Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back. COMMODUS I wonder. Did your friend smile at his own death? MAXIMUS You must know. He was your father. COMMODUS You loved my father, I know. But so did I. That makes us brothers, doesn’t it? COMMODUS Smile for me now, brother! (to Quintus) Strap on his armor. Conceal the wound. KA TSUMOTO Today the Council passed two edicts. The first called for the elimination of our traditional topknots. ALGREN I know. KATSUMOTO The second banned the wearing of sword. Algren stops. He knows what swords mean to the samurai. KATSUMOTO (re: his swords)
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Hand them to me, will you? Algren picks up Katsumoto’s two swords. Looks at him deeply. ALGREN If you do this, they will kill you. 83. KA TSUMOTO I am hard to kill. ALGREN You don’t know what their weapons can do. All your men butchered … Just for pride. KATSUMOTO Not for pride. For the emperor. ALGREN But the emperor is the one signing the agreement. KATSUMOTO He has not signed it yet. He holds out Katsumoto’s two samurai swords. ALGREN Is it worth it? … just for these, KATSUMOTO I cannot live without my soul … Can you? They regard each other.