Pans Labyrinth Essay
A little girl’s fantasy takes place in the mountains of Spain at a military camp fighting against the rebels. Ofelia, a child with a wild imagination, travels with her weak, pregnant mother to meet her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. Once she arrives at the camp she discovers a labyrinth. Later in the story she is led by a fairy to middle of it and meets a faun that tells her that she is a princess from another world. He promises her that she can go back and be reunited with her father as long as she completes three tasks for him.
In her attempts to complete these tasks, Ofelia is forced to deal with the reality of mortality and learn the difference between right and wrong even if that means self-sacrifice. Every trip is a quest (except when its not); the id, the superego, and ego. Freud made a footprint in psychological history when dividing the mind into three sections that exhibit forces upon each other to maintain regularity. Those three elements are the id, the ego, and the superego.
The id is the part of the mind that aims to please itself through instant gratification, while the ego subdues it (the id is animal instinct and the ego is the being reacting to societal constraints). Most consider the ego, the self. The superego is the law, rewarding good behavior and punishing poor behavior. The scene that best displays Freud’s theory of the mind is during Ofelia’s attempt to complete the second task given to her by the faun. Under the faun’s instruction, Ofelia must retrieve a dagger from within a tomb-like chamber without eating food on the table.
Ofelia retrieves the dagger without taking a second look at the food, but on the way back the grapes entrance her. At the head of the table is a creature without eyeballs and large folds of skin indicating a very gluttonous person prior to his demise. Upon eating the grapes, the creature is awaken and attempts to eat Ofelia, but she is able to escape. The creature represents the awakening of the id within Ofelia by succumbing to the impulse to eat the grapes. Ofelia realizes what she has done and the self (ego) stops eating and runs from the id to escape it eating her and ultimately overtaking her judgment.
The superego surfaces and is immediately noticed through the expression on her face. Breaking the Social Role Theory. The social role theory is the idea that men and women behave differently in social settings because of the pressures that society places on the representation of gender. Although the film exudes the concept of social role theory through a male-dominated camp with women working the kitchen, one scene shatters the differences between men and women. Discovered as a spy for the rebels, Mercedes is captured by Captain Vidal and taken to a barn to be tortured until she gives him information.
He makes a statement to another soldier that he never expected this form Mercedes because she is a woman. Here she says that the only reason she got away with treason was because she is a woman, which demonstrates that Vidal’s eyes were blind to Mercedes actions because of his expectations of women to be weak and dumb. In looking at how to read literature like a professor, you can relate this to chapter 7(…or the bible), since Mercedes is overcoming the odds of being a woman and a spy.
Even further, she is able to escape the ties that he used on her and wounds Vidal with a knife and at the end of the movie; he falls dead at her feet. The role apparently changes in the movie from beginning to end, starting with Mercedes being his servant to her being his killer. In dealing with settings: Geography matters and so does season. The labyrinth represents danger and confusion. In the beginning of the movie Mercedes mentions to Ofelia not to go into there or she would get lost. That is ironic because Ofelia follows the fairy into the labyrinth and finds out who she is.
Ofelia becomes more confused as to who she is the more she followed the directions of the faun in the middle of the labyrinth, who gives her dangerous tasks to complete so that she can become immortal. Ofelia has to go into a dark tree trunk to get a key inside of a frog, which she has to kill. Low places, i. e. tunnels, fields, and swamps represent darkness, death, unpleasantness, and death. Pans labyrinth takes place during the fall. Fall represents reaping what we sow and both rewards and punishment. Ofelia is killed by Captain Vidal because she stole her baby brother from Vidal’s room.
Once she got to the middle of the labyrinth the faun told her he needed the blood of an innocent so that Ofelia may return to her kingdom. Ofelia denied to give her baby brother to the faun and said that she would rather be mortal than to allow any harm to her brother. After this Captain Vidal shot her and took the baby. Ophelia’s blood shed was that of an innocent and as a reward she was allowed back into her kingdom where she ruled forever. Vidal was killed because of the tyranny he placed on the people of Spain.
His son is taken away from him and he was promised by Mercedes that his son wouldn’t even know about him. That was his punishment. Cultural similarity: children use fantasies to cope. Pan’s Labyrinth offers incite to the cultural similarities between the United States and Mexico; the most powerful similarity is children using fairy tales to cope with the pressures of an adult world. In the U. S. , children are expected to deal with hard feelings such as loneliness and regret and get through experiences like divorce and financial instability just as adults do.
A coping mechanism common in children in many cultures seems to be the use of imagination to develop fantasies that solve and deal with events that are all too big for them. For example, Ofelia uses a mandrake root to save her mother from a fatal pregnancy (even though it does not help, it make Ofelia feel as though she is doing something to save her mother). In fact, Ofelia develops an entire story, which drives the plot of the movie – these tasks are created in order to cope with the death of her father, her ailing mother, and villainous stepfather.
Pan’s Labyrinth offers an insight into child development, expectations, punishments, rewards, and the impulses that come from inside our minds. In summary, the movie helps adults see the flaws that everybody has and how to overcome some of society’s largest obstacles. It is an adventure for everyone. The writer for this story incorporated seasons, settings, adventures, and fairytales in this movie. This makes it more appealing and is showing ideas from how to read literature like a professor.