The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned: A Curse Through Time: Ramses's Undying Agony and the Price of Immortality - Anne Rice

American literature essay. Literary analysis of works and characters - Sykalo Evgen 2023

The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned: A Curse Through Time: Ramses's Undying Agony and the Price of Immortality
Anne Rice

We are thrown into a world of ancient curses, eternal damnation, and the unquenchable need for life at any cost in Anne Rice's The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned. The protagonist of the book is Ramses, an Egyptian pharaoh who, in his quest for immortality, has doomed himself to an endlessly painful and ravenous undead existence. Rice examines the psychological effects of eternal existence and the tremendous repercussions of overcoming mortality through Ramses's torturous quest.

Ramses's Sorrow and Torment:

The story begins with Ramses tied by the very curse he tried to break free from, and stuck in a torturous state of undeath. Rice does a fantastic job of capturing the depths of his anguish and his never-ending suffering. Ramses's immortality is a prison, a source of perpetual longing for an unattainable death, and loneliness rather than a boon.

The Cost of Eternity:

The Mummy, also known as Ramses the Damned, explores the darker side of immortality and highlights the costs and sacrifices associated with it. Ramses has lost all he holds dear, including his humanity, his relationships, and his tranquility, in his quest for eternal life. The romanticized idea of immortality is questioned in the book, which portrays it as a curse as opposed to a blessing.

A Trip Through Time:

Rice is able to investigate a variety of historical eras and cultural contexts because of Ramses's centuries-long existence. The novel shifts its setting from ancient Egypt to the present day, highlighting the ways in which society is evolving and the universal human urge to overcome death. Rice draws attention to the common themes of life, death, and the quest for immortality by contrasting several historical periods.


The story is interwoven with a number of major themes:

Mortality: The book examines people's fear of dying and their desire to avoid it, leading one to wonder what the real purpose of immortality is.
Damnation: At the heart of the narrative are the repercussions of disobeying the natural order and the cost of obtaining eternal life.
Love and Loss: Ramses longs for love and connection despite his horrific metamorphosis, underscoring the universal human yearning for friendship.
The Search for Meaning: When confronted with an endless life without death, the novel poses issues about the meaning of existence and the purpose of life.

A wide range of personalities from the novel's ensemble engage with Ramses at various points throughout his trip. Every character—from contemporary archaeologists to ancient Egyptian sorcerers—contributes to the story and deepens the examination of mortality and its effects.

Literary Devices:

Rice is able to depict both the depth of Ramses's emotional state and the breadth of time through her skillful use of language. Her vivid style envelops the reader in the rich atmosphere of the novel and brings them to various historical eras. Rice also sheds more light on Ramses's past and the psychological effects of his immortality through the use of flashbacks and dream sequences.

Overall Evaluation:

Beyond the bounds of terror, The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned, is an engrossing and thought-provoking book. Readers are treated to a deep and captivating experience as Rice explores the themes of immortality, ancient curses, and the human condition. Rice asks readers to consider the real cost of an immortal life without death by introducing a monster and tragic protagonist. The novel The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned, is a gripping book that lingers in the mind long after the last page is turned because of its distinctive fusion of horror, historical fiction, and philosophical investigation.