Write an analysis of the parallels between the tributes in the arena and the Gladiators in old Rome. How can we apply the notion of “panem et circenses” to The Hunger Games. OR Discuss the similarities and differences between The Hunger Games and the Theseus-Minotaur story.
There are many parallels that can be found between the idea of the Hunger Games and the Gladiators of Ancient Rome. First of all, there were two types of Gladiators, which parallel the Tributes for the Hunger Games. Many gladiators were slaves, forced into the arena for a chance to win their freedom or to pay a debt. This mirrors the situation in many of the districts, where tributes were selected during the reaping, but if they managed to survive it would mean a drastically better life for them and their family in regards to having enough to eat and a comfortable living environment. However, even after winning the games, tributes were still slaves to the Capitol and forced to remain public figures in order to keep their comfortable life. There were also professional Gladiators that worked for fame or money in the Arena. They trained before entering the arena and were often much better prepared than their opponents. The Professional Gladiators show a clear parallel to the idea of the Careers in the Hunger Games. These people would train for their entire life to take part in the Games and to earn fame and fortune in their own district.
The notion of Panem et Circenses translates to Bread and Circuses and that is extremely relevant to the idea of the Hunger Games. For one, the nation in which the Hunger Games exist is known as Panem and the people of the different districts can get extra grain to help their family survive in turn for extra entries into the reaping. This relates to the idea of the Gladiatorial battles because the citizens would receive food and gifts during the larger Arena Games as well. Furthermore, both the Hunger Games and the Gladiatorial battles were treated like large parties for the rich and famous. People would eat to excess, joke, laugh, and treat it as entertainment. Gambling was a big factor in the Gladiator Battles and the Hunger Games as well, people would bet on who would survive. Furthermore, both the Gladiators and the Hunger Games had a “Game Maker” who dictated the manner of the fights and the rules of the game. Even the author acknowledges that she used the idea of the Gladiatorial Battles to help shape her conception of the Games.