Orientalism of ‘The Mummy’ to Egypt


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Orientalism of ‘The Mummy’ to Egypt

Orientalism refers to the use of style, traits or artifacts that are a characteristic of the people whose origin and cultures are Asian. The Mummy is a 1932 film that can be termed as an orientalist portrayal of Egypt. There are many supporting evidence that can be used to illustrate the orientalist claim. The plot of the film depicts characters that are of Asian origin. Arabs are people from the eastern and therefore has a distinct culture that matches the Asians being distant from the west.

There are several characters with the Arab descent, and one of them is Imhotep an Egyptian name that takes us back to the history of Egypt, at a time when the land of Egypt was ruled by a king, Pharaoh. The beginning of the first scene introduces three people, Imhotep, Anck-Su-Namun and Seti I who are set against the city of Thebes. The three characters are physically beautiful, and they are covered with gold and makeup. In traditional Egypt, artifacts were used to measure the wealth as well as the power of a person. The three characters in the film, therefore, being dressed in gold and other gauzy materials is an indication of the level of power of every individual and therefore a depiction of ancient Egypt.

The Mummy depicts orientalism in the sense that the archeologists are seen in the film intruding and excavating on the so-called sacred places of Ancient Egypt. The archeologists are seen excavating the grounds and going ahead to credit themselves for finding the culture of the ancient Egyptians rather than acknowledging the culture. The artifacts displayed in the museum are similar to those used in ancient Egypt as they were retrieved from the tombs and therefore a depiction of the Eastern culture more specifically Egypt. Thus, The Mummy is an orientalist portrayal of the Egyptian culture.

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