Idea #22 - A Marxist Analysis of Shrek
Today we watched a video essay decoding the underlying marxist elements within the Shrek Universe.
Link to the trailer for Shrek
The Shrek franchise is revered for subverting the tropes of regular fairytales and promoting a healthier, more positive outlook on life. It is a film with an ogre as the protagonist, and tracks his progress from being a self proclaimed loner to a part of society - and also falling in love amidst all of that.
A film rooted in fairytale mythology that turned everything you knew about those worlds on its head whilst still utilising what makes fairytales so timeless. The villains became the heroes and the heroes were the villains.
The Marxist film theory talks about the conflict between the working class and rich bourgeois who have full control over the working class. Karl Marx believed that the working class would have to unite and overthrow the rich class so as to get the rights they deserve. Through this film, various elements of this theory can be dissected in the way Shrek is a pacifist, The Donkey is a revolutionary and Fiona (the princess) plays the role of a love interest to suppress the revolution.
This dissection of a children's film as a political commentary gives an interesting insight into how the society works, and how a certain marginalised section of society is always oppressed by those more powerful than them.
Link for the marxist analysis of Shrek
Read more about marxist film theory here
Read more about the film 'Shrek' here
Written By: Hetvi Kamdar
Curated By: Hetvi Kamdar