A dangerous profession, being a gladiator was for some men, that wanted fame and money, a good career choice. Not all the fighters were forced to join this profession, many were volunteering. The gladiators were perceived by the Roman society in a very ambiguous way.
Being a gladiator was a social disgrace and meant not having certain public rights. On the other hand, the fame given by a successful gladiator career was something that attracted even senatorial families to join the…game.
Gladiators had a great success with women, who saw them more like some sexual objects, but sexual contacts between citizen women and gladiators was socially unacceptable. Ignoring this prohibition many rich women had intimate contacts with gladiators. Some historians mention Senators wives running off to live with gladiators. The gladiators were a good subject for art. Many paintings reproduced gladiators - The Gladiator Mosaic, or a Bignor Roman villa showing Cupids as gladiators.