Beowulf Versus Shrek

Better Essays
Romean
Mr. Newell
October 9, 2014
British Literature – D
Shrek versus Beowulf (Hero’s Journey) Joseph Campbell dedicated his whole life researching patterns that appear in almost every hero story or movie. He discovered that there are a few basics stages that just about every hero character goes through. This cycle is called “the monomyth” or more commonly known as “the hero’s journey.” This paper will compare and contrast Beowulf and Shrek and how each fits into the monomyth. Every story that involves a hero will subsequently follow the concept of the Heroes Journey. In both Shrek and Beowulf, crossing the threshold/threshold guardian stage is quite similar. This stage is defined as the point at which the character(s) cross from their ordinary world into the unknown world. Also, the guardian part means that they have to pass through a person or obstacle to get to the other side. Crossing the threshold for Beowulf required crossing the shore into Denmark and then going on to fight and kill Grendel (Beowulf pgs 144 onward and 285 onward). Metaphorically speaking, crossing the shore and killing Grendel is like crossing into the new world as an established hero. If he had been killed by Grendel or denied entry, then none of the other parts of the story would have happened and he would have never gotten to enter the “belly of the whale.” This stage in Shrek is almost the same but has a few slight differences. Shrek’s threshold involves his long journey to Duloc to speak with Lord Farquaad. He and Donkey travel by foot all the way to the castle to find themselves walking in on a battle and being attacked by several guards (Shrek). In order to leave his ordinary world as an ogre behind and to embark on a journey to get his home back, he is forced to defeat these guards. After he wins the battle, he is sent on the quest for Princess Fiona (Shrek). If Shrek never made his way to Duloc or got defeated by the guards, he never would have had a chance to go on the quest.



Cited: Beowulf. Prentice Hall Literature: The British Tradition. Kate Kinsella et.al. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. Pgs. 39-60. Print Shrek. Dir. Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson. Perf. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow. DreamWorks Pictures, 2001. DVD.

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