15 Best Mulan Quotes You Will Love

Mulan” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

One of the interesting things about the movie Mulan is that many of the title character’s most pivotal moments don’t actually involve dialogue. Mulan is often depicted as thinking quietly, then taking decisive and quick action. As a result, many of the more memorable lines from the movie are spoken by those around her, especially the ever-chatty dragon Mushu. 

Still, Mulan does have a few great lines that capture her personality and the spirit of the film, as illustrated by this list of the best Mulan quotes.  

The Best Mulan Quotes

Magical Map – Mulan” by MaddyInDisneyland licensed under CC BY 2.0

“I brought a spare.” 

This small bit of dialogue early in the movie actually does a good bit of work for helping us understand who Mulan is and what makes her stand out. 

Mulan is bringing tea to her father when she drops the teacup in her rush. She immediately tells him she brought a spare, letting know that she’s resourceful and plans ahead. Mulan is aware she can be a bit clumsy, so she’s ready for the possibility that she’ll need a second teacup. 

“Ancestors, hear my plea. Help me not to make a fool of me.”

During Mulan’s preparations to meet the matchmaker, the cast breaks into song. One of Mulan’s only lines during this song is her prayer to her ancestors to guide and support her. Through her plea, we learn that while Mulan may know her strengths lie elsewhere, she wants to impress the matchmaker anyway. 

In part, this is to bring honor to her family, but it’s important that she also doesn’t want to make a fool of herself. This lets us know that family is important to Mulan, but she also wants to do well for her own self-esteem and self-respect. 

“Reflect before you snack… act!” 

This is one of my favorite quotes from the movie, because it’s just plain funny. Mulan has written a cheat sheet on her arm to make sure she doesn’t forget the lines she’s supposed to recite for the matchmaker. 

Of course, she didn’t quite count on being thrown into a bathtub while getting ready, and the ink has begun to smear. So, she misreads “act” as “snack,” sparking off a hilarious scene in which the matchmaker grabs her wrist and winds up with ink all over her face. This may not end well for Mulan and the Fa family, but it’s certainly good for some laughs.

“Can it be I’m not meant to play this part?”

“Reflection” is quite possibly my favorite song from Mulan, and this line really highlights Mulan’s inner struggle. She’s been trying to be a good daughter and future wife, but knows the role doesn’t quite fit her. Here, she’s reflecting on failing with the matchmaker and wondering how she can possibly bring her family honor now that she’s squandered the chance of making a good match. 

We see that trying to fit the gender roles expected of her feels like playing a part, meaning it goes against her natural inclinations and strengths. It is an emotional moment to realize she may not be able to fit in with what’s expected of her, and it also foreshadows the part she will soon be playing when she decides to impersonate a man in order to save her father. 

“Somehow I cannot hide who I am, though I’ve tried.” 

Another great line from “Reflection” that both builds Mulan’s character and foreshadows what will come. Here, Mulan admits that she struggles to hide her true self and fit the role prescribed to her.

She will, of course, be trying to hide who she is when she joins the army. However, though she is impersonating a man, I think this quote reminds us that Mulan is still being herself even when she dons armor. In fact, being a soldier lets her use the strategic mind and outspoken nature that she was supposed to hide as a young woman. 

“You shouldn’t have to go. There are plenty of young men to fight for China!” 

When the Imperial Army shows up with a conscription letter for her father, Mulan rushes out to argue. As a woman at this time, she isn’t supposed to be outspoken with her opinions.

In this moment, however, we learn two things about Mulan. She loves her father, and she will speak up for what she believes is right even when she is supposed to hold her tongue.  

“I see you have a sword. I have one, too. They’re very manly. And tough.” 

A lot of the comedy from Mulan herself comes from her early efforts to pose as a man. When she first enters the training camp, she is laughably bad at it. 

Here, she is trying to make small talk with the other men in the camp by talking about her sword. Of course, this forced attempt to seem masculine doesn’t go over so well with the other guys in the camp, and we see that she is initially struggling to fit in as Ping just as she’s struggled to fit in as a woman. 

“Hope he doesn’t see right through me.” 

The iconic song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is one of the film’s best moments, in my opinion. This is mostly Shang’s song, with some good chorus action from the trainees. Mulan’s line here reminds us that she’s anxious about being discovered, but it also hints at what’s to come. 

Though Shang may not realize she’s a woman until her injury in battle, he does “see right through her” in that he becomes one of the first people to truly understand and respect Mulan’s strategic mind and good ideas. 

“How ‘bout a girl who’s got a brain, who always speaks her mind…?”

This line from the song “A Girl Worth Fighting For” is played for comedic effect. The other men brush this aside as a silly thing to want in a woman, which reinforces the idea that Mulan is unfit to a bride. She is, of course, describing herself when she poses this as an ideal quality, testing out the idea that someone might be interested in a woman like her. 

“Maybe I didn’t go for my father. Maybe what I really wanted was to prove I could do things right, so when I looked in the mirror, I’d finally see someone worthwhile.”

After she is discovered as an imposter and kicked out of the army, Mulan sits in the snow, reflecting on what she’s done. Here, she admits her own ambitions for the first time. Though she joined the army to protect her father, she has also spent her life seeking acceptance and validation. 

In this moment, she admits to Mushu that part of her wanted to do something important for her own sake, to prove her worth. We see her continuing struggle to figure out where she fits in to her society as an outspoken woman with a mind full of ideas. 

“I have to do something” 

Perhaps one of the lines that best sums up Mulan as a character is when she tells Mushu that can’t just sit idly by when she sees that the Huns survived the avalanche and plan to attack the imperial city. 

Given that she’s been spared once from the death sentence for impersonating a soldier, riding to the city to warn them is an incredible risk to her safety. However, Mulan’s strong conviction about doing what’s right is more important to her than her own wellbeing. She must do something to try and save her fellow soldiers and all of China, no matter what it might mean for her own future. 

“You said you’d trust Ping. Why is Mulan any different?” 

When Mulan rides into the city to warn the army that the huns are about to attack, Shang initially disregards her and tells her to go home. Frustrated, she asks why he said he’s trust Ping, but no longer trusts her when he knows she’s a woman. 

In this moment, she reminds herself and Shang that, even though she was pretending to be a man, she was otherwise being her true self as she got to know her fellow soldiers. 

Shan Yu: “You took away my victory.” 

Mulan: “No. I did.”

In this pivotal moment, Mulan deflects Shan Yu’s attention from Shang to save his life. Shan Yu is about to strike, claiming that Shang took away his victory. Mulan rushes into his view and pulls up her hair so she once again looks like a man, as she tells him it was she who took away his victory.

What’s interesting about this moment is that Shan Yu doesn’t pause to question it or be offended that a woman defeated him. He simply turns his attention to seeking revenge on Mulan. In this moment, the villain accepts that a woman could be the one who took away his victory. 

“Father, I brought you the sword of Shan Yu. And the crest of the Emperor. They’re gifts, to honor the Fa family.” 

When Mulan returns home to her family, we can see that she is still worried they won’t accept her. In her emotional reunion with her father, Mulan quickly tells him about the trophies she’s brought home with her from battle. We can see that she still feels the need to earn her father’s love and respect. 

In an emotional turn, he tosses these items aside and embraces his daughter, revealing that she never needed to prove herself to earn his love. She had it all along. 

“Would you like to stay for dinner?” 

At the end of the film, Shang awkwardly approaches Mulan to return her father’s helmet. He clearly doesn’t know how to express what he came there to say, so Mulan steps in. In inviting him to dinner, she’s once again speaking her mind and taking control of the situation. 

This is one of the last spoken lines of the movie and nicely shows how Mulan has come into her own, accepting that she can be a woman and speak up for what she wants. 

There we have it: the best Mulan quotes from the iconic animated movie. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go listen to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” on repeat. 

This article was written by Amanda and edited by Michael.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *