Marcus Aurelius: Are you ready to do your duty for Rome?
Commodus: Yes, father.
Marcus Aurelius: You will not be emperor.
Commodus: Which wiser, older man is to take my place?
Marcus Aurelius: My powers will pass to Maximus, to hold in trust until the Senate is ready to rule once more. Rome is to be a republic again.
Marcus Aurelius: Yes. [Marcus moves his hand to touch Commodus’ face and Commodus turns away] My decision disappoints you?
Commodus: You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage, perhaps not on the battlefield, but…there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family, to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn’t want me for your son.
Marcus Aurelius: Oh, Commodus. You go too far.