On July 28, 2004, we were assigned to watch a movie called, “Quo Vadis,” which re-enacted the happenings in the time of Nero and the persecutions of Christians. On this, we were assigned to comment on three different aspects of the film: (1) the portrayal of Nero, (2) the portrayal of Christians or Christianity, and lastly, (3) the portrayal of the persecutions. In the movie, we see Nero as that person who may never have known anything except how to sing off-key tunes. He is seen as the vain, whiny, ignorant monster of an emperor who would do anything, even burn the whole city, to have what he wants. While this may be true, I believe that the film portrayed only the bad qualities he has because Nero was also a great emperor in his early years. Two of Nero’s qualities include modesty and sophistication. Brought up in an environment where people kill and deceive each other to get what they want, Nero behaved quite otherwise. In fact, early in his reign, Nero hated signing death sentences and had forbidden contests that included bloodshed. He also granted the Senate more control than they originally had. When the Senate returned thanks to him, he replied, “When I shall have deserved them .” More of his contributions to Rome include the following: (1) he started competitions in poetry and theatre, (2) he allowed slaves to pursue charges against unjust masters , and (3) he devised new forms for the buildings of the city after the fire . Later on, he still formulated great plans for his empire, but that did not hide the fact that most of what he was doing was done for his own wants or pleasures. When he realized that he could do anything without instituting fear of retribution, Nero began to give rein to extreme artistic pretensions. This, I believe, is his greatest downfall. His vanity as a poet, as a singer, as a lyre player and as an actor led him to do unnecessary actions like the burning of the city (which is i…
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