Jungian Analysis-Shrek

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Jungian Analysis-Shrek

Post  Liane on Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:00 pm

The movie Shrek is about an ogre named Shrek that is first seen living in an isolated swamp in the middle of a forest. Shrek falls in love with a beautiful princess named Fiona that he is supposed to rescue along with his friend Donkey and bring back to Lord Farquaad, ruler of the kingdom Duloc. The main barrier implied in the movie however, is not their social differences but their physical appearance. This barrier, along with a misunderstanding causes a brief separation between the two and Fiona seems destined to marry Lord Farquaad after all. But this is solved on the wedding day when Fiona reveals that she had been cursed since she could ever remember to change into an ogre after sundown until she finds her true love. When Lord Farquaad sees her transformation, he refuses to marry her and instead commands both Shrek and Fiona to be arrested. Donkey comes to the rescue with a fire breathing dragon and devours Lord Farquaad. Then Fiona fulfills her curse by kissing Shrek but instead of changing back into the beautiful human she was, she remains an ogre but Shrek tells her that she is beautiful to him. The movie ends with “And they lived happily after” and the book that was read by Shrek in the beginning closes to reveal that it was his fairy tale that we had been seeing the entire movie.
Side note: This movie follows the model of the comic mode from Frye’s analysis as the characters are portrayed to be quite content in the beginning, diminished in the middle and happy again in the end.

Situational Archetypes:
Most of the movie focuses on Shrek’s quest, his task of rescuing the princess Fiona and bringing her back to Lord Farquaad to wed where he will finally be considered a proper and rightful king. This is the dominant archetype as he physically has to go and search and recover the princess from her tower. This quest is reminiscent of the hero bringing back someone or some talisman that will bring back fertility to a wasted land or a disabled king. Fiona takes the role of this image as her marriage to Lord Farquaad will restore his title as king.

Shrek’s quest also leads him to a personal journey to understand his own personality and to accept the social needs that he denies he desires. When Fiona and Donkey discusses her curse and Shrek only hears parts of the conversation and believes that the ‘big ugly ogre’ is him, he reverts back to his old introverted self and gives up on pursuing Fiona himself as well as banishing Donkey from his swamp. All three characters descend into depression and Shrek is forced to acknowledge his own distrustful and gruff ways may have cost him both his best friend and his love.

Symbolic Archetypes:
There are a few symbolic archetypes in the movie Shrek. The first is isolation vs. integration. Throughout the movie, the story follows how Shrek is brought slowly out of solitude by just having company again. At the end of the adventure, not only does he now have a whole host of new friends such as Donkey, he also marries Fiona, accepting her as his companion for life. The story also shows society vs. the wilderness. This was shown by highlighting the twisted ideas of Lord Farquaad’s perfect utopia. The scene when Shrek and Donkey first enter Duloc and a creepy puppet show presenting the rules of Duloc plays is a good example of this. Also, when Lord Farquaad orders all fairytale creatures to arrested and taken away because he believes that they are poisoning his perfect world is another example of the confining aspect of society vs. the freedom and liberty of the wilderness.

Character Archetypes:
The most easily distinguished character archetype in Shrek is the portrayal of Shrek as the hero. Other side archetypes include Donkey as the friendly beast and Fiona as the damsel in distress in the beginning, though she tosses off this role when she fights off the merrymen for Shrek and Donkey.
The movie is centered on Shrek himself (thus the movie title) and his adventure to find himself and his true love. He is different in the sense that he is not in the traditional body of a hero because he is something despised and feared by many. However he has characteristics of a hero and he performs superhuman feats such as facing and fighting off a fire breathing dragon. Shrek also mentions that many had tried to kill him since he was a baby because of who he is. Shrek ends up marrying Princess Fiona in the end and he is presumed to end up spending the rest of his life as king of the forest with Fiona as a queen and all the other fairytale characters as his subjects and friends.


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Re: Jungian Analysis-Shrek

Post  krissology on Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:15 pm

Some more archetypes to consider:

Battle between good and evil- Shrek and Donkey fight the evil dragon. Shrek wins the love of Fiona from the rather unpleasant Lord Farquad, who could be considered evil as he is completely self centred and only focused on himself and not the people he is ruling. Fiona turns into an Ogre half of the day, so there is her beautiful good self, and her ugly self that has been imposed on her by an evil witch.

Star-Crossed Lovers- Ogres are not supposed to win the hearts of princesses, even if they do have a magical curse turning them into an Ogre at night. Donkeys are not supposed to fall in love with Dragons.

Evil creature with a good heart- Dragon is an evil figure at first, but in the end with her love for Donkey, she becomes good and helpful.

Light vs Darkness- During the day Fiona is a beautiful princess but at night turns into a grotesque Ogre.


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The Outcast

Post  andrekg on Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:04 pm

Among the many archetypical characters Shrek could be considered to be the "Outcast". Shrek is disliked by society for being an ogre and regardless of what he does on behalf of the kingdom he is still hated. Even after he rescues the princess the couple is forced to marry at Shrek's swamp and it is arguable that everyone else who attends their service is also a reject of some sort. This final act truly defines Shrek as an outcast because even when he defends the kingdom and marries royalty, he is still not accepted by "normal people".


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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:14 pm

Liane - great job. Shrek is a great film and you have correctly identified a number of archetypes. I'll just add a second Quest: his quest to get his swamp back. The irony of course is by the time he succeeds in getting his swamp back so he can live once more in isolation, he no longer wants to be alone. He wishes to be with Fiona, as well as the company of his new friend, Donkey.
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Re: Jungian Analysis-Shrek

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