Race and The Prince of Egypt


    HebrePicture above taken by Patrick Gray from flickr and uploaded January 18,2016.

When it comes to pop culture and Ancient Egypt there are times when movies can either get things right and get things wrong. Especially when it comes to race. I feel that a movie that got the race of Ancient Egyptians right was The Prince of Egypt. Not only do I think they got Egyptians race correct, they also got the Hebrew race right as well. However in the Movie the Egyptians are shown as a race that is more superior than the Hebrews, to the point where the Ancient Egyptians felt so threatened by the Hebrews that they made them slaves.

The reason why I think they got race correct in The prince of Egypt  is because of the skin tone of the both the Egyptians and the Hebrews. In most Hollywood movies, such as Gods of Egypt, they tend to portray Ancient Egyptians Gods and most Egyptians as European descent. They are not portrayed in this movie as being either African or Middle Eastern which would be a more ideal representation of Egyptians. However in The Prince of Egypt They made both the Egyptians and the Hebrews both the same skin tone which makes sense regionally due to the fact that Egypt gets a lot of sun and they mostly spend their time outdoors. Hollywood feels that if they use actors of European descent the movie would be more relatable to the American people. However I did notice that the son in The Prince of Egypt did sound slightly British, which I find really odd. 

What I found shocking in this movie, was the fact that the Egyptians felt that they were so much more superior than Hebrews. To the point where they decided to throw the first borns into the nile to be eaten by crocodiles. I don’t know if this really happened in actual Ancient Egyptian history but I wouldn’t find it surprsing if it did happen. I do know that in actual history Ancient Egyptians did make Hebrews their slaves. Do I feel that the Egyptians made themselves appear superior in this movie? Yes because they decided that they felt so threatened that the Hebrews would revolt and take over Egypt that they make the Hebrews slaves and placed them in harsh situations. A good example in the movie on the fact that the Egyptians felt more superior than the Hebrews is when Moses meets with his sister and brother and when the sister tells Moses that he’s her brother he gets extremely defensive and threatens her. You can tell that the Hebrews won’t stand up against the Egyptians by the fact that Moses brother then tells Moses that she’s sick and she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Another example of why I think the Pharaoh and even some Egyptians thought they were more superior was by the Pharaoh just laughing at the fact that Moses was trying to get him to let go of the Hebrews. You could tell in the movie it was going to take a lot for the Pharaoh to stop being so stubborn and to just let go of his pride and let the Hebrews go. Even the Hebrews knew that they were powerless to the Pharaoh and higher class Egyptians, they knew that the Pharaoh could take everything from them in a heartbeat. When Moses confronts the Pharaoh before the plagues begin the Pharaoh tells Moses that because of him he’s going to double the work of the Hebrews.

Another thing I noticed in the movie was the relation between religion and race. I feel that religion and race are connected because Moses was Hebrew and because of this he was chosen to save the Hebrews in Egypt from the harsh labor that the Pharaoh put on them. Even his mother knew that when she placed him in the basket and sent him down the river that he would make it to the Palace to be taken in by the wife of the Pharaoh. When Moses was found at the palace and grew up of course he’s going to follow the Egyptian religion. But then once he realizes that he was Hebrew and runs off to Media, he accepts the faith that Hebrews followed.

What I got out of this movie was that there are times when movie makers do give us the feeling of what Ancient Egypt would look and be like. However there are those who feel that they need to change the race of characters to make the movie more relatable. This movie also shows the harsh reality of  immigration in the Ancient world, which is what we see happening in the world right now. In the end you can’t help but feel a sense of hope that the Hebrews were finally able to leave the harsh reality of living in Egypt.


Photo taken by Patrick Gray from Flickr, posted on January 18,2016.

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