Follow TV Tropes


Awesome / I, Claudius

Go To

  • Four little words from Livia:
  • The epic backstabbage of Sejanus by Macro (watch here, in all its deliciousness).
  • Gallus's tirade against Sejanus, refusing to sign his False Confession, even as he is being beaten to unconsciousness.
    Gallus: I'll sign nothing for you to produce after I am dead. Bring me to trial or murder me, and take the consequences.
    Sejanus: There'll be no trial. I have no need of a trial to prove your guilt.
    Gallus: A song sung by every small-town corrupt policeman, which is what you are and what you should have stayed. I have watched your career with fascination, Sejanus. It's been a revelation it's been to me! I've never fully realised before how a small mind, allied to unlimited ambition and without scruple, can destroy a country full of clever men. I've seen how frail is the structure of a civilisation before the onslaught of a gust of really bad breath! Yes... But I suppose you are not really the destroyer. No, we must look elsewhere for that. You are merely the putrefaction that spreads after death - the outward and visible sign of its presence! You're a lesson in history to me, Sejanus, proving that, above all, Mankind needs its sense of smell.
  • Advertisement:
  • The sheer fact that Claudius was able to survive Caligula's reign, being at the centre of it all for its entirety. The numerous ways he's able to talk Caligula down from something, or just keep his head, are nothing more than astounding. Even with all his bumbling and stuttering praises of adulation and self-humiliation, he still manages to outpace and survive against all odds through luck or simply by being seen as too incompetent to waste energy on.
  • This speech:
    Claudius: Senators, it is true I'm hard of hearing, but you will find it's not for want of listening. As for speaking, again it's true I have an impediment. But isn't what a man has to say more important than how long he takes to say it? It's true again I have little experience of government, but then have you more? I at least have lived with the imperial family who have ruled this empire, ever since you so spinelessly handed it over to us! I have observed it working more closely than any of you. Is your experience better than that? As for being half-witted, well, what can I say? Except that I have survived to middle age with half my wits while thousands have died with all of theirs intact! Evidently quality of wits is more important than quantity! Senators, I shall do nothing unconstitutional; I shall appear at the next session at the Senate, where you may confirm me in my position or not, as you wish. But if it pleases you not to, explain your reason to them! (Indicates the 4,000 Praetorian Guard) Not to me.
  • Advertisement:
  • Livia tries to browbeat Tiberius into releasing Germanicus' killers and Tiberius finally sticks it to her, threatening to have her declared mentally incompetent. Despite all of the terrible things Tiberius has done, one almost feels like cheering for him.
    Tiberius: What do you want?
    Livia: I don't want that letter read in the Senate. You'd be a fool if you allowed it.
    Tiberius: You want my assurances that they'll be acquitted?
    Livia: Of course I do. They should be acquitted. And if you had any backbone, you'd get them acquitted.
    Tiberius: I'll tell you what I'm going to do. It's your letter, you stick to it... and if it's read in the House, I'll deny all knowledge of it and excuse you on the grounds of mental incompetence brought on by extreme old age. And you can tell your friend Plancina that there will be no deal!
    Livia: What a spineless, miserable, mean-spirited creature you are!
  • Advertisement:
  • Pallas and Narcissus, Claudius' freedmen and senior advisers, orchestrating the execution of Messalina. First, they ask former prostitute Calpurnia, the only woman besides Messalina whom Claudius trusts absolutely, to be the one to tell Claudius that Messalina has divorced him to marry Gaius Silius and persuade him to order the mass arrest of the wedding party. As said mass arrest is taking place, Messalina arrives at the Imperial palace, hoping to sweet talk her way back into Claudius' favour, only for Narcissus to stand in her way and deliver a "Reason You Suck" speech as Pallas orders her confined to her chambers. Finally, the two freedmen slip Messalina's execution warrant into the middle of the papers charging the other conspirators, and get the drunk Claudius to sign them without reading them before sending Praetorian guardsman Geta to carry out the execution. (Though Claudius' reaction to the news is severe Mood Whiplash.)
  • Claudius' Zany Scheme fails, but he manages to get one last win before his death...
    Sibyl: Quite a story, wasn't it? They [Aggrippinilla and Nero] burned your book, you know. All of it.
    (Claudius and Sibyl laugh)


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: