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When Maximus is captured by Quintus in Gladiator, Cicero offers him his sword. Why does he refuse?

Come to think of it. If he had defeated Quintus and the 3 men in the room, and with the support of his army, things could have been very different.

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TLDR:

Possibly:

  1. He didn't want Cicero to be unnecessarily killed.
  2. He didn't realise he was facing death until he was removed from the tent, saw the riders head for his family and had his own fate confirmed to him.

Answer:

We don't know definitively, but I'd suggest it was because he didn't want Cicero to be killed.

Cicero obviously couldn't just waltz in with the sword, give it to Maximus and let Maximus kill Quintus and the guards - he would have been killed long before reaching Maximus (and even then, with all Maximus' skill, it would be an uneven fight).

The only real solution would be for Cicero to kill most of the men and give Maximus his sword.

A mere servant going up against multiple guards would likely end swiftly and poorly for the servant.

Given this, I'd argue Maximus didn't want to see him killed, particularly since his intervention would be so futile. Another thing that is worth remembering is that whilst Maximus is aware he is being arrested, he is still not aware of the implications of this.

From the script:

Quintus and four Praetorian ASSASSINS suddenly burst in -- the assassins move immediately to bind Maximus -- swords at his throat --

MAXIMUS What -- ?!

QUINTUS (ashamed) Please don't fight, Maximus --

MAXIMUS Quintus --

Quintus goes to Maximus' armor, which hangs nearby, and slowly removes his seal of office.

QUINTUS I'm sorry, General, Caesar has spoken.

They pull Maximus out --

Five horses are waiting.

MAXIMUS Quintus, what -- ?

QUINTUS (anguish) I have no choice --

They are almost run over by a stern cohort of twenty Praetorians who gallop past. Maximus knows immediately what this means.

MAXIMUS (suddenly) My family?!

A beat.

MAXIMUS What about my family, Quintus?

QUINTUS (quietly) They will greet you in the afterlife.

Maximus lunges at him -- the Praetorians subdue him -- slamming him with a sword hilt -- knocking him unconscious.

Note that when he realises he and his family will be killed, he does fight back (and may well have accepted the sword from Cicero). But at the time of his initial arrest, seconds earlier, exactly what was happening was still unclear, so the perilous nature of his situation was not obvious.

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