The film the Ten Commandments (1956) depicts is the cinematic interpretation of the book of Exodus. This essay in particular will focus on the difference between the movie and the book of Exodus. In particular it will focus on the issue of race between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. The movie shows the Egyptians living a lavish life while the Hebrew slaves were mistreated. This movie shows the sharp contrast the life the Egyptians lived compared to the life of Hebrews and how the Hebrews were mistreated. This essay will argue that the accounts of race in Exodus are over exaggerated compared to the Ten Commandments. This can be seen through the movie having an emphasis of violence towards the Hebrews, the disregard of protection laws for the Hebrews, and the overemphasis of the betrayal the Egyptians felt when Moses was discovered to be a Hebrew.
The movie the Ten Commandments is about Moses life. He is an Egyptian Prince who later finds out he is Hebrew. Throughout the beginning of the movie, the viewers are able to see the contrast of how the Egyptians lived versus the Hebrews. Once Moses finds out he is a Hebrew, he goes off to be with them. The Hebrew people believe Moses is the chosen one and they follow Moses in order to find freedom from the Egyptians. Moses does exactly that and leads the Hebrews away from the Egyptians to their own land. While they are their Moses presents his people with the Ten Commandments given to him by God on Mount Sinai.
In the beginning of the movie, we see the lavish life the Egyptians live. To complete this life style they have slaves building their city. Hebrew slaves will build Ramses city. As stated in Exodus,
And he said to his people: Behold the people of the children of Israel are numerous and stronger than we. Come let us wisely oppress them, lest they multiply: and if any war shall rise against us, join with our enemies, and having overcome us, depart out of the land. Therefore he set over them masters of the works, to afflict them with burdens: and they built for Pharao cities of tabernacles, Phithom, and Ramesses...And the Egyptians hated the children of Israel, and afflicted them and mocked them. And they made their life bitter with hard works in clay and brick, and with all manner of service, wherewith they were overcharged in the works of the earth. (Exodus 1: 9-14, King James Version).
This passage demonstrates the Hebrews were oppressed and enslaved. The film demonstrates this by showing scenes of the Hebrew slaves working on the pyramids and statues. The way slavery is demonstrated in the movie is through violence and striking the workers. In one scene, a Hebrew drops a rock and he is scolded by the Egyptians ( ). The Egyptians are also demonstrated as hurting the Hebrews. This passage from Exodus does not talk about the violence used to build the city like it was shown in the movie.
Moses is shown as a compassionate person for the Hebrew people. In one scene he saw an Egyptian being struck...