Role of Medieval History in Modern Day

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A common story plot in modern day films portraying Middle Age themes is a damsel in distress being saved by a knight in shining armor. For instance, the popular animated children’s movie, Shrek, follows the story line of Shrek and his partner, Donkey, going off on a journey in order to save a princess imprisoned in a tall castle tower and guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. The entire plot setting is based roughly around the same time frame as the actual middle ages, so the elements of medieval culture in this movie are clear. The guarded castles, mythical creatures, and feudal system enforced between the peasants and royalty are all elements of medieval culture. One major scene that depicts the essence of the Middle Ages best is when Shrek leads Lord Farquaad to Fiona as an exchange for guaranteed privacy of Shrek’s swamp.

Two main aspects of this scene to focus on is the interaction between Lord Farquaad and Shrek and also the use of Princess Fiona as an object of trade for Shrek’s reward. Traditional ranking of nobles and commoners are rooted within the Middle Ages, and although Shrek acts rather brutish and unpolished in Lord Farquaad’s presence, there is still an act of submission as depicted by Shrek’s delivery of Fiona. It was typical of knights in the middle ages to battle against one another or perform favors and acts of bravery in order to gain favor in the eyes of a King. Lord Farquaad’s use of Shrek as a way of obtaining Princess Fiona would then give Shrek an opportunity to gain favor in Lord Farquaad’s eyes so that his request of gaining back full ownership of his swamp would be granted. Due to the treacherous nature of retrieving Fiona, this would constitute as one of many acts of valor that many knights would partake in at the time.

Princess Fiona’s part in this scene is as an object of bargaining, as shown when Shrek brings Lord Farquaad to her in order to fulfill his side of the arrangement. It should be noted that Princess Fiona’s...
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