Sample Religious Studies Essay Paper on Orientalism in Lawrence of Arabia

            The film Lawrence of Arabia is rife with orientalism. It is a perfect example of the British projecting their cultural values on the lives of Arabs and also interference in the affairs of Arabs, by foreign persons. The cultural value of the movie is overhyped, as the western audience does not understand the significance of the events and alleged shortcomings that the native characters in the movie display. The film depicts a British man as a savior and hero who comes to help a hapless Prince Faisal revolt against the Turks. In the early scenes of the film, the barbarity of the Arabs is portrayed when a man is killed for merely drinking from a well without permission. The western audiences would not understand the importance that is placed on a well by the Arabs. If they understood, then this scene would not attract the attention it did.

            Lawrence is also portrayed as a better soldier and strategist compared to the Arab natives. The fact that the Arabs are better-suited plan for raids having good knowledge of the land and topography is ignored. Lawrence also seems to care more about the welfare of the Arabs than the people themselves. He is concerned about Gasim, who falls from his camel ride in the desert at night. Lawrence risks his life by going back to save Gasim. The native people are depicted to have less sense of gratitude pragmatism as seen when Gasim kills a newly acquired ally because of a blood feud. Lawrence is forced to kill the very man he had saved because of the man’s ingratitude and the likelihood of failing the mission.