Mulan Essay

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The film Mulan is set in ancient China, in an undefined dynasty. The Huns have penetrated the Great Wall and have invaded China. The emperor orders that new soldiers be drafted. Mulan, a girl who recently humiliated her family by failing the Matchmaker’s assessment, in order to save her aging father from death at war, steals her father’s armor and masquerades as a soldier. Throughout the film, several historical inaccuracies, as well as accurate portrayals, become apparent, in such respects as religious philosophies, historical inconsistencies and through the heavy American influence in the making of the film.

Ancient Chinese philosophies, which are still present today, played a huge role in the film and were accurately utilized in advancing the plot. At the beginning of the film, upon the emperor learning of the Hun’s invasion, the general suggested that the army move to protect the emperor’s city. He refused, and ordered that the army move out to protect his people. According to the ideas of Confucianism, one of the key relationships is that of the ruler and his subjects. The ruler must always protect and serve them. With this in mind, the emperor prioritized the safety of his subjects over his own. Confucianism is also very clear about the place of women in society. Women are to stay in the house and quietly raise children and always be obedient towards her husband and father. Mulan defied all of these rules as she took her father’s place in the army. Later, she found that everyone trusted and listened to her while she was under the guise of a man, but as soon as her true identity was revealed, her captain refused to listen to her. This accurately portrays the Confucian idea that women are inferior to men and don’t belong in positions of power. Confucianism wasn’t the only philosophy present in Mulan, but Daoism as well. Two instances where Daoism is visible is during the training scene, and where the emperor refuses to bow to Shan Yu. During the song...
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