The film starts off with the depiction of the Sahara Desert and includes two main characters; Lady Diana and the Sheikh Ahmed. The Sheikh is a handsome young man and his character portrays authority and power. He is the leader of his fellow tribesmen and is educated in Paris. After Sheikh Ahmed Lady Diana comes, an orphaned young woman who lives in Biskra. People consider Diana as a reckless spirit of daring who has decided to go into the desert alone with Arabs.
Both characters portray their cultures to a limit. Diana wants to visit the vast desert alone and this isn’t normal for a well-bred English-woman. The Sheikh, on the other hand, is dressed in the usual Arab way and does what he likes to do. He also doesn’t like it when his orders aren’t followed as he forces Diana to do as he pleases.
Both cultures are perfectly contrasted in the movie. The Arabs like to sit on the sand or floor and dine whereas the English prefer tables and chairs. Arab’s smoke Hookah’s whereas the English in Biskra sip tea from intricate cups. The Arabs wear gowns, boots and headdresses and the English dress themselves up with suits and pretty gowns decorating them with umbrellas.
The relationship is shown as an infatuation at first that shows control and hostility. Later it changes when Diana realizes that she loves Sheikh when he rescues her from getting raped by Omair, the bandit. Diana also finds out that Sheikh Ahmed is really a European and then professes her love to him while he is in his sickbed and asks God to give him life even if it means taking hers.
The culture roles in 20th century show how English considered Arabs and their marriage rituals as barbaric. Arabs portrayed control and did what they liked: for example, Sheikh Ahmed kidnapped Diana and kissed her out forcefully.
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