Pan's Labyrinth Symbolic Analysis

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Stanley Ruvinov
English 271
Symbolic Analysis
2/16/13
Existence, Demise and Reawakening
Destruction, chaos, violence and death along with numerous other tragedies are the results from War. The film Pan’s Labyrinth, by writer/director Guillermo Del Toro, depicts a story of hero’s quest in a time of disarray. The film is based in 1944, about a princess’ journey to return home. She came from an underworld, escaping to the real world because of her foolish curiosity. Similar to the myth of Pandora’s Box, of when someone is told not do something but does just the opposite. The princess’ entrance into the real world blinded her, and wiped her memory from her origins and who she once was. She carried the same soul, but in a different figure which brings us to our heroine, Ofelia. The hero is presented with an expedition, and must accomplish several obstacles to complete it. In this case it is the stereotypical three obstacles and like always, the hero is rewarded upon his or her accomplishment. The rewards vary from different stories, but in Pan’s Labyrinth it is quite peculiar. Ofelia’s reward is to be reunited with her father and mother who live in an underworld. The film is set in the 1944, in a destructive feudalistic Spain as it is in a civil war. Director Guillermo Del Toro opened the movie to several interpretations, but uses political and historical significance to symbolize each of the obstacles in Ofelia quest to return to her original world, parallel to the political battle of the Nationalists (The Guerilla Fighters) and the Republicans (Captain Vidal) throughout Spanish Civil War in stages of life, death and rebirth.

Politics are a very involving role in the film and symbolize the first task Ofelia must accomplish. As her first steps in returning home, she is given three magic stones to feed to a giant toad and retrieve the key that is inside it. This giant toad is living a decaying tree that looks very similar to a uterus. Toro must...
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