(This is the finale of a series about the man, the myth, the legend–the Mummy. Part one is here, or follow the “gods and monsters” tag to see all the installments. Information was sourced from a variety of books, articles, films, and museum resources, but all opinions and conclusions are my own. A spoiler warning is in effect. Thank you for reading!)
VII — Conclusion (It’s Always Sunny in Hamunaptra)
The Mummy began as an artificial construct. Unlike fellow Universal alumni Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man, the Mummy did not derive from a longstanding mythological tradition or primal human fear. Instead, he arose from a fundamental cultural misunderstanding, as modern Western minds misinterpreted ancient Eastern practices.
In a time when it was seen as the West’s right to control, exploit, and plunder the ancient dead, the prohibitive moral hazards of tomb desecration—and the natural hazards of exploration, such as disease and death—manifested in the popular consciousness as evidence of vague but dangerous curses. The cinematic Mummy initially arose to explain these curses, but through multiple iterations became the central figure of the drama. In doing so, he evolved his own character: as a cursed man, cast out for love. A sacrilegious man at the least, often a murderer, but almost always a tragic character whose downfall came from the best of intentions.