As a child, I grew up spending countless hours watching fairy tales and dreaming that one-day I would become a princess. Today’s modern day fairy tales have changed compared to the classic day fairy tales. That is why one can argue as to whether Shrek falls under the category of a fairy tale or is it just a parody of the popular classic fairy tale. It is my opinion that Shrek is a fairy tale that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. Most fairy tales follow a formula for their storyline, which is a sweet and poor, usually orphaned, young girl who meets a handsome young man who at some point turns out to be a prince.Order now
In Shrek, the storyline varies in that Shrek is an ogre, who sets off to rescue Princess Fiona as part of a bargaining trade with Lord Farquaad to get rid of the fairy tale creatures that have taken over his swamp. This is where “Shrek” (the movie) makes fun of most of the popular fairy tale characters. Shrek does have a heart of gold, but he does not have the typical sweet personality of most fairy tale characters. At the end of the story the princess does fall in love with him, but unlike “Beauty and the Beast,” where the beast turns into a prince, Fiona actually turns into an ogre.
Although Shrek isn’t the typical fairy tale, “as it deconstructs and reconstructs the genre, brings about a complexity new re-interpretation of this kind of films,? it does fit into the genre of a fairy tale” (Perez). For a story to be classified as a fairy tale it needs to have some of the following characteristics: “contain some characters who are either all good or all bad, often include a task that, if completed, brings a reward, often include a magic object ¦often begin with “Once upon a time ? and end with “Happily ever after”? (Bosma). Shrek does follow many of the fairy tale guidelines.
Shrek is one of the good characters along with his talking donkey friend. As for some of the bad characters would be Lord Farquaad and the fairy godmother. Another element of a fairy tale takes place when Fiona had a spell that was cast upon her turning her into an ogre at night. However, the beautiful Princess Fiona is not your typical fairy tale princess, because while she does get Shrek to help rescue her, etc, she also demonstrates the ability of being able to defend herself when they get ambushed in the forest by Robin Hood and his merry men. Shrek also parodies the sentimental moments of most fairy tales.
For example, when Snow White runs away from her castle, she befriends numerous amounts of forest animals. In the movie, Shrek, when Fiona sets out to find something to eat for breakfast, she encounters a bird and they both start to sing along; however, due to Fiona’s high pitch voice the little bird blows up. The previous examples from the film are used to create comic relief in the movie so that parents and children will get a good laugh instead of leaving the cinema with a tissue in hand. There are many comparisons that show how the characteristics in Shrek match the characteristics of what defines a fairy tale.
From magic, to good and bad characters, and a task that brings reward, Shrek has it all. When the Grimm Brothers and other writers of fairy tales wrote their books, they would limit themselves to writing about the era in which the story unfolded and there were no Cinderella part II nor III (Brothers Grimm?). This is not the case with Shrek, which has gone on to have four parts. In Shrek part II, Shrek is faced with meeting his in-laws, and automatically meeting with the discontent of his father-in-law. Fiona gets very upset by this and gets visited by her fair godmother who claims that she is going to help her.
Most fairy tales with fairy in it are usually depicted as sweet, chubby little old ladies that are there to help out the damsel in distress. Fiona’s fairy godmother turns to out to be the villain of the story, because instead of wanting to help Fiona with her relationship with Shrek, she actually wants to ruin it so that Fiona can leave Shrek and marry her son, prince charming, who is just as mean-spirited as his mom, the fairy godmother. In Shrek parts I-IV there are comments made that relate to today’s society, just to inject some humor in the story line and to leave us talking about the movie.
For instance the fairy godmother, as mad as she is at King Harold, she stops at a fast food place to pick up some food and implies that her diet is ruined, and while ordering the food she also gets her son prince charming a “happy meal’ along with the toy that comes with a happy meal. There are also more modern day characters in this film with the bartender being a crossdresser. According to one Shrek critic, “This is the new world of fairy tales: parodied, ironized, meta-fictionalized pop-culture saturated”? (Is Shrek Bad for Kids?).
When Shrek gets captured by the police, the incident is being shown on TV, sort of in a COPS type of program, therefore the story has a mixture of old era versus new age technology and characters. One of my favorite parts in Shrek II is when they are having the ball to celebrate Shrek and Fiona’s marriage, and they are treating the event as your typical Hollywood red carpet award ceremony, which even include a commentator such as Joan Rivers commenting of the guest arriving at the party. Shrek is taking the role of the more modern day fairy tale suitable for both parents and kids to enjoy together.
Most of the fairy tales from the 1800s finished with the prince and princess getting married and living happily ever after (“Brothers Grimm ?). Since there is up to a part IV of Shrek to follow the original one, we can actually see Shrek and Fiona’s love evolve, they become parents, which like I stated above in most of the original fairy tales the heroine of the story winding up pregnant was never seldom the case, as the story usually wound up with the princess marrying her prince charming and the reader/viewer assuming that they lived happily ever after.
Whether Shrek is considered something other than a fairy tale to some people, one thing that it does have in common with all of the fairy tales, is that his loyalty to Fiona is unbreakable. Despite all of the obstacles put in their way by those who want the relationship to fail, Shrek and Fiona overcome all of this adversity having their love triumph over all of it.
One common denominator that Shrek has with all other fairly tales of the past is that he is willing to fight for his beloved Fiona and they “live happily ever after ? with his beautiful ogre of a wife Fiona and their triplet little ogre children. One thing it does not have in common though is that Shrek sends the message that not everything comes easy in life. Shrek portrays a message that girls need more independence in life and they should not to leave their dreams up to their prince charming to accomplish.