The enduring themes of 'Spartacus': The revealing inner depths of Starz's bloody series

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Although the Starz series "Spartacus" is set to make its final season premiere, there are certain things about the series that are timeless, including the powerful themes that it manages to evoke with every episode. These themes strike at the heart of the series' popularity and why it manages to exert such a hold on the popular imagination.


If one word encapsulates the theme of Spartacus and his destiny, it would have to be sacrifice. Perhaps no character in recent TV history has had to sacrifice as much as Spartacus has, both in the first season (in which he loses his freedom, his wife, and almost his soul), and in the subsequent ones. There is something tremendously and almost terrifyingly touching about the sight of a man reduced to such a low point in his life, and it is this that at least partially explains why Spartacus is such an engaging character.


Certainly, Spartacus is no stranger to duty, especially as he finds himself the leader of a rebellion that only grows the longer it endures. However, other characters also embody this theme, including Lucretia, who is determined to do her duty by her husband and provide him with a son, no matter the cost to herself or those who surround her. In the end, the series continues to show us just what dangerous and sometimes deadly things people will do in the name of what they perceive to be their duty to themselves and to others.

Triumph through despair

Finally, we come to what is perhaps the most important and transcendent theme in the entire series: the power of triumphing through the greatest despair. Time and again, Spartacus and his band have proven that most of them can endure whatever is thrown at them. As the final season hurtles toward us, however, and as the Romans prepare for their ultimate effort to quash these bothersome rebels, it remains to be seen whether everyone's favorite rebel hero will be able to lead his warriors through the greatest despair that any of them have yet known.

If you haven't yet had the chance to dive into the series, I would highly recommend it. Through the blood, the gore, and the sex, you can see the glimmer of the deeper themes and issues that the series explores, using the past to help shed light on our own tumultuous and sometimes terrifying present.

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