Harmonizing to Edward Said, the West constructs a impression of the East as “other, ” through Orientalism which turns the East into a topographic point to be feared or desired as an image of the West ‘s imagined “otherness.” as noted in the work of Peter Brook ‘s Mahabarata, and modern-day movies like we have seen in Avatar, or of practicians that subvert and challenge orientalist perceptual experience found in the West, as we have seen in M Butterfly.

Through an scrutiny of public presentation from at least two different civilizations, demo how the theater is used to either exotify the other in a sort of “Oriental Gaze, ” and the work of other modern-day practicians who wish to dispute these “otherings” of a civilization.


The phenomenon of Orientalism in art and literature is one of the most historical and cultural phenomena. The thought of Orientalism played an of import function in literature of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century in Europe, It was more widely mentioning to the depicting of the East by Western creative persons, as the captivation with the East influenced many of the romantic authors who situated novels and poesy about the cryptic Eastern lands and besides dazzled many celebrated painters who were surprised and impressed by the appeal and beauty of the East. These painters translated that captivation in their pictures utilizing many methods, while some of them painted what they really saw and experienced in the East, others painted their imaginativeness about the myths and charming narratives of the cryptic East. The East became an interesting finish for travelers, many of whom went on to compose about and paint their experiences in the alien lands among unfamiliar peoples and imposts. In humanistic disciplines in general, the East became associated with beautiful landscapes, erotism and enigma.

Many bookmans place the beginning of postcolonial surveies in history, literature, doctrine, anthropology, and humanistic disciplines at the publication of Said ‘s Orientalism, published in 1978. Said focuses his attending in this work on the interplay between the “ Occident ” which refer to the West and the “ Orient ” , which refer to the East.

In this essay I will research the significance of the other and otherness from the position of the European regard. I will seek to happen out how the West sees the E by concentrating on their image of the eastern adult females through theater as it is one of the of import humanistic disciplines that reflect the community regards, by analysing the “Veil” symbol and it representation through Oscar wild drama “Salome” and the “Fan” symbol through Puccini ‘s opera “M. Butterfly” . Equally good as I will demo how some practicians subvert and challenge orientalist perceptual experience in the West and besides how they sometimes fall victims to the stereotyping in the in-between E of the challenges.

Oriental studies

Oriental studies loosely defined, as the representation of the Eastern universe by the western universe, more profoundly, as the survey of the Orient by western bookmans and their rating of its societal and moral values, and its future chances.

The beginning of oriantalism perceptual experience was in the nineteenth century by bookmans who translated some Hagiographas of the East into English, in order to cognize more about the Eastern civilizations which will authorise the West with cognition of how to suppress and get the better of the Eastern states ( Sered, 1996 ) .

By the mid-19th century oriental surveies expanded and became of import to many bookmans. However, racist attitudes and stereotypes have become built-in to this cultural motion. The West saw the Eastern art and literature as alien and inferior to their ideals. Many critical theoreticians pointed out that there is much that can be learned about the West ‘s image of itself through the manner Western authors have portrayed the East The thought of the oriental as the “Other, ” or the cryptic unknown, reflects the European concerns about one ‘s ain individuality ( Byington, 2001 ) .

Oriental studies is a manner of believing about the East as strange, alien, dark, cryptic, titillating and unsafe, and has helped the West to specify itself through this contrastive image. The West had ever seen the East as inferior and to apologize the colontiastion of the East, they had to specify eastern people as despotic or dead and in demand of Christianizing, educating or controls ( Hubinette, 2002 ) .

Edward Said and Orientalism

Oriental studies is a manner of idea based upon an ontological and epistemic differentiation made between “ the Orient ” and ( most of the clip ) “ the Occident ” … In short, Orientalism as a Western manner for ruling, restructuring, and holding authorization over the Orient. ( Said, 1978 )

The most influential review on Orientalism came in 1978 with Edward Said. He managed to assail the oriental perceptual experience non merely to our impressions of the ways in which the West concepts representations and portraitures the East but, to how the political orientation of Othering is facilitated through Art and literature in his book “Orientalism” .

Harmonizing to Said, the West has created a “dichotomy” between the world of the East and the romantic impression of the Orient. The Middle East and Asia are viewed with bias and racism. The West has created a civilization, history, and future promise for the East. On this model rests non merely the survey of the Orient, but besides the political imperialism of Europe in the East. He discussed the dialectical relationship between Occident and Orient as is a manifestation of “us versus them” ( Said 1978 ) .

Said argued that Orient and Occident worked as oppositional footings, so that the “ Orient ” was constructed as a negative inversion of Western civilization. He studied many plants of European bookmans and authors specialized in the peoples of the Middle East in order to denounce the dealingss of power between the coloniser and the colonized in their texts. Said thinks that by cognizing the Orient, the West came to have it. So harmonizing to Said, it is imperialism which motivated Orientalism. Without imperialism, westerners would ne’er hold survey near and Far-Eastern societies and civilization ( Sered, 1996 ) .

Said asserts that harmonizing to the Occidentals, the Orientals had no history or civilization independent of their colonial Masterss. Oriental studies is more an index of the power the West holds over the Orient, than about the Orient itself.

After Said, legion surveies have been published on the different Orientalisms of the West that assorted states and civilizations of Asia have suffered. Among many orientalists, Said?s book provoked angry and sometimes even hateful responses, while others declared themselves ready for a cardinal alteration of attitude towards Asia and the Asians, their objects of survey. Said?s theory of Orientalism has besides provided women’s rightists and post-colonial theoreticians with a general method of understanding the nature of subjugation ( Hubinette, 2002 )

Said argued that the West has stereotyped the East in art and literature, since antiquity — such as the composing of The Persians by Aeschylus so in modern times, Europe had dominated Asia politically that even the most externally nonsubjective Western texts on the East were permeated with a prejudice that Western bookmans could non acknowledge. Western bookmans appropriated the undertaking of geographic expedition and reading of the Orient ‘s linguistic communications, history and civilization for themselves, with the deduction that the East was non capable of composing its ain narrative. They have written Asia ‘s yesteryear and constructed its modern individualities from a position that takes Europe as the norm, from which the “ alien ” , “ cryptic ” East perverts.

Said concluded that Western Hagiographas about the Orient depict it as an irrational, weak, feminised “ Other ” , contrasted with the rational, strong, masculine West, a contrast he suggests derives from the demand to make “ difference ” between West and East that can be attributed to immutable “ kernels ” in the Oriental makeup.

A mean of showing cultural and societal individuality

The term oriantalism was progressively used by sociologists and other bookmans since the 1990s, to mention to ethnocentrism, pigeonholing, and cultural representations of the Eastern societies ( Chua, 2008 ) . Oriental studies became a manner of believing about the universe and the civilizations that inhabit it. It acquires planetary significance through the designation and proviso of these civilizations in ways that support, even promote, on a political and economic high quality of the West.

Edward Said, pointed out in his definition of Orientalism that the Orient is “almost a European innovation, a topographic point of love affair, alien existences, stalking memories and landscapes, singular experiences” ( Said, 1978 ) . He besides pointed that the Orient helped the West to specify itself, as it consider to be a contrastive image in footings of people, thoughts, experiences, etc. As Orientalism lives on in the academic universe, many authors, ideologists, journalists, political, historiographers, poets, painters, moviemakers and others contributed to the Orientalist vision of the universe, they justify that by the impossibleness of analyzing the Orient, without being influenced by Orientalism.

The other and the distinctness

The other can be defined as the image outside oneself, each different yet somehow the same and, hence, connected by their contemplation. It can besides be understood within the two-base hit of ego and can be seen as forming the really being of single topics. While distinctness is the status of being different from that otherwise experient or known ( 1 ) .

The term “ The other ” is normally used by societal, ethical, cultural, or literary critics, they use this term in order to understand the societal and psychological ways in which one group excludes or marginalizes another group. By utilizing the term “other” , the individuals begin to detect the unsimilarity from another, and this is normally shown in the manner they represent others, particularly through stereotyped images.

The West used these footings to place what they did n’t understand about the Eastern civilization as the modern-day preoccupation with other and otherness in the West which represents a concern for personal individuality. But in order to understand the Eastern civilization they had to except them from the normalcy and environing them with mysterious cloud therefore the focussing on “otherness” became a manner of understanding the civilizations differences more than similarities ( ( Portis, 2009 ) .

Portrayal of the Orient in humanistic disciplines

In the 19th century, when more creative persons travelled to the Middle East, they began stand foring more legion scenes of Oriental civilization. In many of these plants, they portrayed the Orient as alien, colorful and animal. Such plants typically concentrated on the Middle East states.

Gallic creative persons such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres who painted many work portraying the Middle East civilization. When Ingres, painted a extremely colored vision of a Turkish bath, he made his eroticized Orient publically acceptable by his diffuse generalizing of the female signifiers. Even so, in contrast to Eugene Delacroix who had visited an Algerian hareem in individual which after he painted the Algerian hareem, Ingres ne’er travelled to Africa or the Middle East to see such topics in individual, and the concubines shown are more Caucasic and European than In-between Eastern or African in visual aspect. For Ingres the oriental subject was above all a stalking-horse for portraying the female nude in a inactive and sexual context. Alien elements are few and far between in the image – musical instruments, a thurible and a few decorations ( Elif, 2008 ) .

In Theatre, Madam Butterfly and Mikado are sing illustrations to the oriental perceptual experience to the Far East. As Gilbert and Sullivan in Mikado and Puccini ‘s Madam Butterfly -which is based on a short narrative written by John Luther Long and dramatized by David Belasco- depict Nipponese civilization musically and dramatically. They used Western musical positions of Nipponese and Oriental music in both dramas every bit good as they used the western stereotyping of the Nipponese people as the costumes, white faces, hair design, etc. without showing the true nature of this civilization. These public presentations played on stereotyped Western positions of the Far East in general and the Nipponese civilization in peculiar.

Furthermore, in films, Arabs were mostly romanticized and viewed as alien and portion of an tempting Orientalism during the 1940s. The rich Arab in robes became a more popular subject, particularly during the oil crisis of the seventiess. In the 1990s the Arab terrorist became a common scoundrel figure in Western films.

The images of adult females in East

Many bookmans who wrote about or painted the East did n’t truly see or see the Eastern civilization, they merely interpreted what they imagined, that built-in the image of the Eastern people, in peculiar the adult females, with pigeonholing. Asiatic adult females have been portrayed as cocottes, aggressive, timeserving sexual existences and marauding gold diggers utilizing their feminine to acquire what they want ( Hofstede, 1996 ) . Besides Arab adult females were normally portrayed as alien abdomen terpsichoreans or deaf-and-dumb person, subservient, and repressed. Western movie and literature has continually portrayed such stereotypes of Eastern adult females.

Stereotypes of Asiatic adult females

There are tonss of footings portraying the stereotyping of the Asiatic adult females such as the “Dragon Lady” which was portrayed as a strong, cold and fierce adult female who was knowing in the art of sexual pleasance unknown to the Western universe. Another is the “China Doll” stereotype which portrays Asiatic adult females as subservient, compliant and dying to delight. It besides identified all Asiatic adult females as Chinese. From the position of the West, Asiatic adult females are meant to be seen and played with as a doll. In Western civilization, The “Geisha” is seen as a cocotte or sex entertainer, this stereotype indicates that Eastern adult females are valued and used for their organic structures for aesthetic pleasance. On the contrary, a Geisha in Nipponese civilization is a sort of an creative person. They are trained in developing certain societal accomplishments such as dance, singing, tea-making, discoursing and functioning to be an artistic entertainer non prostitute ( Prasso, 2005 ) . Besides there are other footings refer of pigeonholing the Asiatic adult females proposing that they are sexually available to foreign white work forces as “Yellow cab” , “Sarong party miss and “ Comfort Women ”

There is tonss of pigeonholing to the Asiatic adult females from the western position that harmed their individuality ; all these stereotypes perceptual experiences depended on how the West misunderstands the East, Asiatic adult females are normally portrayed as beautiful, sexually available, alien, and loyal but submissive. Harmonizing to Elaine Kim a Professor of Asiatic American Studies, the stereotype of Asiatic adult females as submissive has hindered Asiatic adult females ‘s economic mobility.

Stereotypes of the Middle East adult females

From decennaries, separation between states and persons has been maintained by really powerful symbolic boundaries leads us, symbolically, to shut ranks civilization and to stigmatise and throw out anything which is defined as impure, queerly attractive exactly because it is out, forbidden, endangering to cultural order ( Hall, 1997 ) .

Since the first contacts with the Arab universe, the West has developed a set of stereotypes picturing Arabs as barbarian and violent. As with the spread of colonisation during the nineteenth century, an organized scholarship devoted to the representation of ‘Otherness ‘ emerged as a specifying minute in this cross-cultural history ( Hirchi, 2007 ) .

The stereotyped representations of Arabs and Muslims are frequently manifested in literature, media, theater and other originative looks. Arabs and Muslims in Television and films are frequently affecting subjects associated with force. As the words “Muslim” or “Arab” is connected with the image terrorist and bomb-making or sometimes mention to the affluent oilmen. An Arab adult female is normally represented, a belly terpsichorean, sex objects, whore, terrorist or subservient, imprisoned behind a head covering of impotence ( Shaheen, 1988 ) . Even in sketchs which is consider to be aimed at kids is full of negative images of Arab adult females which portray them as belly terpsichoreans, alien and harem misss, ( Wingfield and Karaman, 1995 ) .

These stereotypes do n’t merely harm the psychological and cultural portion of the Eastern civilization but besides helps dehumanising a group foremost before assailing it ( Qumsiyeh, 1998 ) .

Salome as a representative of the Arab adult females

For decennaries Salome figure has became a representation of the Arab adult females. The West used to see the Arab adult females evil, seductive, belly terpsichoreans, nudes and that was shown in tonss of humanistic disciplines work of that clip which is considers pigeonholing to the Arab adult females. The beginning of Salome narrative and her celebrated dance came from the Bible:

But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias ‘ girl performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he vowed to give her anything she wanted. Consequently, at her female parent ‘s goad, the miss asked for John the Baptist ‘s caput on a tray.

The male monarch was grieved, but because of his curse, and because he did n’t desire to endorse down in forepart of his invitees, he issued the necessary orders. ( Matthew 14:6-11 )

Herodias ‘ opportunity eventually came. It was Herod ‘s birthday and he gave a hart party for his castle Plutos, ground forces officers, and the taking citizens of Galilee. Then Herodias ‘ girl came in and danced before them and greatly pleased them all.

“ Ask me for anything you like, ” the male monarch vowed, “ even half of my land, and I will give it to you! ”

She went out and consulted her female parent, who told her, “ Ask for John the Baptist ‘s caput! ”

So she hurried back to the male monarch and told him, “ I want the caput of John the Baptist — right now — on a tray! ”

Then the male monarch was regretful, but he was embarrassed to interrupt his curse in forepart of his invitees. So he sent one of his escorts to the prison to cut off John ‘s caput and convey it to him. The soldier killed John in the prison, and brought back his caput on a tray, and gave it to the miss and she took it to her female parent. ( Mark 6:21-28 )

In reading the Biblical description, we find out that there is no specification of the sort of dance Herodias ‘ girl did. Nothing claim that her dance involved head coverings, or the remotion of vesture, or seduction. Actually there is no cogent evidence in the bible narrative that the decease of John the Baptist is linked to the seductive seven head coverings stripper.

In 1891, Oscar Wilde wrote his drama Salome based on the origin narrative in the bible. Wilde ‘s drama portrays Salome as an evil character who becomes obsessed with John the Baptist ( Elliot, 2002 ) .

Herod: Do non lift, my married woman, my queen, it will avail thee nil. I will non travel within boulder clay she hath danced. Dance, Salome , dance for me.

Herodias: Do non dance my girl.

Salome : I am ready, Tetrarch. [ Salome dances the dance of the seven head coverings. ] ( Wilde, 1891 )

The book of the drama does non stipulate that the dance must be seductive or a dwelling any stripper of head coverings. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the captivation with the Middle East become at its extremum, the authors and painters saw the narrative of John the Baptist as a good illustration of the East from their positions the narrative had all the elements that make for public involvement sexual overtones as slaying, political relations and the seductive dance. However, the dance of the seven head coverings has ne’er been a portion of Middle Eastern dance traditions, and is non performed in the Middle East today. But it was invented by western, and has been preserved for amusement grounds.

The head covering which is merely merely a piece of fabric is marked as a portion of enigma and myth. It is both portion of the civilization and the imaginativenesss of people in the East. The head covering and the hareem symbols have ever fascinated the Western people. They were prevented from seeing and pass oning with Arab adult females and that produced feelings of defeat and aggressive behavior. Furthermore, the head covering has provided work forces with the phantasy of alien and titillating experiences with the beauty behind the head covering ( Mabro, 1991 ) .

In the Middle East, the head covering was and still is a modesty garment which is worn to protect a respectable Muslim adult female from the prising eyes of male aliens. May be it is used in some dance public presentation but without the incorporate remotion of seven head coverings until the terpsichorean stands wholly bare.

To reason Salome is seen as an oriental deceit to the Middle East adult females from the position of the Western. This deceit have harmed the image of the true nature of the Middle Eastern adult females as they were seen as evil, belly terpsichoreans, seductive and bare with no regard to their ain individuality and faith. And the head covering become associated to that mis representation as it become a seductive tool linked with nakedness.

M. Butterfly as a representative of the Asiatic adult females

“Female forfeit narrations can be traced back to scriptural narratives like the narrative of Ruth, who gives up everything for the interest of her hubby who has a civilization and faith different from her ain. In America Pocahontas narratives, which call for the forfeit of the adult female of colour for the interest of white work forces, have been common. However, the Nipponese Madame Butterfly has become the best known modern manifestation of this type of narrative.” ( Marchetti, 1993 )

Madame Butterfly is an opera by Giacomo Puccini. He based his opera in portion on the short narrative “ Madame Butterfly ” ( 1898 ) by John Luther Long, which was dramatized by David Belasco. Puccini besides based it on the fresh Madame Chrysantheme ( 1887 ) by Pierre Loti. Puccini ‘s Madame Butterfly is a tragic narrative of love, treachery and a immature female parent ultimate forfeit. It is a narrative and myth prevarications at the bosom of Western perceptual experiences of Nipponese adult females as inactive, selfless, and dedicated wholly to their hubbies and households. The work reveals legion stereotypes and biass of the Western universe refering oriental civilization. It become an icon and myth of the Nipponese adult female as the ideal of loving self-sacrificing, devoted married woman to a Western hubby.

“Despite the alterations and the increasing independency of Nipponese adult females in the 1890ss, the dated Western stereotypes of Nipponese adult females remain steadfastly entrenched in print, broadcasted, and movie media. In the latter, particularly, Nipponese adult females are still routinely depicted with painted faces and geisha attire….The paradigm for all of these images was Cio-Cio-San in Puccini ‘s Madame Butterfly… This authoritative portraiture has no uncertainty had a durable consequence on the mind of Western males. The conformity and gradualness attributed to Nipponese adult females have long struck a antiphonal chord in work forces used to self-asserting, confrontational, and independent Western women” ( Ma, 1996 )

There are tonss of ocular elements in this public presentation that contributed in the pigeonholing procedure of the Asiatic adult females as the hair manner, white face make-up, scenograph of the topographic point and most of import, the costumes which are the kimonos of the chief character of the drama, Madam butterfly. The West attempts to understand Japan through the metaphor of the kimono. The kimono was built-in to the Asiatic civilization for decennaries.

There are many types and manners of kimono which are worn depending of the formality of the juncture, the age of the wearer, their matrimonial position, clip of twenty-four hours, and clip of season. In add-on to colorss and manners, the manner kimono is worn differs between whether it is a individual or married adult female. All of these factors come into drama when make up one’s minding what kimono is appropriate to have on and how to have on it which means that the kimono is non merely a frock but it ‘s a civilization. The West has treated this civilization by great disdain, as any form of kimono represent the Asiatic adult females irrespective this kimono civilization. ( Goldstein, 1999 )

To reason, Madam Butterfly helped pigeonholing Asiatic adult females by environing them by the fencing of isolation. It has become a representation of the cultural individuality and a deceit associated with entry, breakability, and muliebrity. And by covering with the kimono as a representation symbol of that civilization it became associated to these constructs. As if Madame Butterfly did n’t have on the kimono a tonss of constructs and pigeonholing perceptual experience could alter.

Contemporary representation

History reveals that western humanistic disciplines have humiliated, demonized, and eroticized Arab adult females. These images inherited and embellished western preexistent Arab stereotypes. In the 18th and nineteenth century ‘s western creative persons and authors offered fictional renderings of adult females as bathed and submissive alien object. The stereotype came to be accepted as valid, going an unerasable portion of European popular civilization. Nowadays the Arab adult females in western humanistic disciplines still trapped in the besieging of being veiled, soundless or a terrorist. While the Asiatic adult females representation changed a small as female characters in films or Television play have shifted from obedient weak misss to strong, intelligent, working adult females.

David Henry Hwang alteration effort in his M. Butterfly

David Henry Hwang is a modern-day Asiatic American dramatist his drama is a deconstruction of Puccini ‘s opera Madame Butterfly. Hwang drama shows that gender functions provide people with an individuality based on finding the “other” and being the antonym. The existent classs of what we consider to be male and female exist merely in our heads as ways to place ourselves.

Madame Butterfly is non merely a narrative about love dealingss or the homosexualism ; it is more than that where it raises subjects as gender, ethnicity, imperialism and race. Madame Butterfly is see one of the most of import drama in footings of disputing the political, societal and cultural individualities of the West over the last decennary, This drama forces its Western audience to cover otherwise with Eastern stereotypes affecting sexual orientation, gender, and civilization, particularly those stereotypes issued by the myth of Orientalism ( Burns & A ; Hunter, 2005 ) .

In Hwang drama, the ground that Gallimard failed to spot that his lover was a adult male can be attributed to the cultural stereotype imposed by the West on the East. The West thinks of itself as masculine while it regards the East as feminine, “weak, delicate, hapless… but good at art, and full of cryptic wisdom — the feminine mystique.” ( Hwang, 1988 ) .The West expects Oriental adult females to be submissive to Western work forces. Besides the subjects of racism and sexism are linked. Thus, even Eastern work forces are feminized. As Song puts it, “being an Oriental, I could ne’er be wholly a man.”

At the terminal of the drama, the Hwang reversed the functions of Gallimard and Song ; he began to pulverize the racial and sexual stereotypes that he has been steadily exposing from the beginning. Gallimard, exploited, loving, betrayed, becomes like Butterfly, while Song is revealed non merely as a adult male but besides as a cheat like Pinkerton in Puccini ‘s Madame Butterfly who was ne’er what he appeared to be. He wanted to demo the Western audience that stereotypes are non merely unsafe, they are besides false.


It is of import to state that the East had fascinated the Western and became a new beginning of inspiration for the creative persons, as picture, literature, theater, films and other originative humanistic disciplines. A new artistic motion, Orientalism, was born from this captivation. However, Orientalism in the nineteenth century was non ever representative of what and how the East truly was. Many deformations and stereotypes existed, and that led to some unfavorable judgments from bookmans like Edward Said who did n’t hold of how the West stereotype the East without existent understands to the Eastern civilizations. The West treated the East as inferiors in order to hold the right to colonise them ; their justification was that the East has to be civilized by the manus of the West. The stereotyped images of the Eastern adult females which was and still promoted by the Western media has a great consequence on the civilization image in general and the economic mobility in peculiar, as this stereotyping had harmed the touristry in the Middle East as it a terrorist states every bit good as created the sex touristry in the Far East it alien states.


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