SPOILER WARNING: I talk about the last few episodes of Spartacus.
Don’t read unless you’ve watched the full series. But why haven’t you already?!
A popular school of thought regarding our recreational consumption of violence is that we all have an in-built blood-lust (to variable degrees). Initially, this makes sense. After all, mankind’s proclivity for warfare throughout history is undeniable and has scant signs of ever abating.
Our active enjoyment of violence when presented as entertainment is equally ancient. The gladiatorial arenas of Rome are scarcely a far cry from modern-day boxing rings or cage fights. Whether in the Colosseum in AD.40 or in Madison Square Garden in the 21st century, the crowd bays for blood. The flash of red on the sand (or in the ring) is the ultimate thrill for an audience.
While we must still question why we have this somewhat ghoulish desire, arguably safer and more acceptable ways to quench this thirst have been discovered. Violent films, books, video-games and other forms of media can perform this function, without outwardly harmful actions (although the mainstream media may not agree with this).