Shrek: Modern Myth Storytelling Is Essay

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Shrek is a "search" story because it involves a quest for treasure -- externally, Shrek is after the Princess and is seeking the reward of being left at peace in his swamp, and on a more profound level the film shows both he and Fiona on to be quests to discover themselves and their capacity for love and self-acceptance that they didn't really now they were on. Both internal and external searches find strong origins in myth (Seger, 1). It is also a hero story about overcoming prejudice against the fairy tale creatures (one of the best scenes is the brutal interrogation of a gingerbread man who is a member of the resistance), with Shrek as the primary hero. The film is nontraditional in that the hero never starts out as mundane, but ultimately gains a "normal" existence (Seger, 2).

Despite the high level of mythical identification that is possible in myth, it is doubtful that the movie was constructed by a formulaic adherence to mythic structure, or even a conscious and designed departure from such structure.
As Seger points out, "these stories are part of us. And the best way to work with them is to let them come out naturally as you write the script" (Seger, 6). This is a fact that Shrek plays on heavily, and on several levels. Not only is the basic story of the movie itself very much based on traditional myths -- and therefore inherited its structure -- but many of the minor characters (who are also some of the most memorable) -- also come from stories that are well-known in today's culture. As a sort of meta-film, this fact of Shrek's creation really plays about the universality of many stories and characters. This film is entertaining and compelling not just because it is funny and well acted, but because the story speaks to us….....

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