GCSE English


In traditional fairy tales, ogres are man eating beasts. The Prince usually rescues the Princess, they marry and live happily ever after. How do makers of Shrek use presentational devices to reverse this tradition to reveal the ogre as good and Prince as evil?

In this essay I am going to analyse the characters of Shrek and Lord Farquaad and write about how film makers of Shrek use different presentational devices to create an unusual fairy tale.

In traditional fairy tales ogres are man eating beasts and the Prince usually rescues the Princess and they are handsome and kind. The Prince and Princess get married and live together happily. Ogres are big, ugly and scary and they usually eat men in fairy tales and scare away  characters. An example of traditional fairy tales are Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In Jack and the Beanstalk the giant is massive and ugly and he scares away the characters. He chases Jack when he finds out he has been stealing from his house and threatens to eat him. In Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Snow White is freed from a spell by a handsome Prince and they lived together happily ever after.

Language is an important device, and I am going to write about how language can create the impression of good and evil, both in characters and films. The film “Shrek” opens like a traditional fairy story, using the well known “Once upon a time there was a lovely Princess.” The narrator is interrupted by a hand snapping the book shut and Shrek appears. After Shrek appears we can hear a modern rap music  which suggests the this film will not be conventional fairy tale story. Viewers are surprised because in normal traditional fairy stories the don’t usually play rap music and once the narrator of the story starts to speak they will not be interrupted.

When the story book characters arrive, Shrek threatens them by saying that he will “grind your bones for my bread and shave your liver and make jelly from your eyes.” He tries to scare them saying “Ogres are worse than giants,” and all the people run away screaming. This suggests that he is scary and a typical ogre.

Later in the film, Donkey and Shrek meet. When Shrek sees Donkey he roars at him and tries to intimidate Donkey. In surprise, Donkey is not frightened and responded to Shrek by saying “ You need some Tic-Tacs.”  ridiculing Shrek about his breath. Donkey is persistent and continues to question Shrek. At this point Shrek was beginning to get irritated by Donkey and he shouted “What am I?” which is meant to scare Donkey but it fails. Donkey is ignorant and continues to annoy Shrek by bouncing on his chair, peering through the window and making annoying sounds. Also the mice tease Shrek by running over his table and up on his shoulder. This is funny as he fails to catch them even though they are blind. Shrek couldn’t do anything and shouts “I’m a terrifying ogre, what do I have to do to get a little privacy?” The behaviour of Donkey and mice tells the viewers that Shrek is not as frightening as an ogre should be  and that is why all of these characters are not afraid of him. Also their behaviour tells us that Shrek is not a traditional ogre because he does not really want the mice and Donkey to go as he likes their company. From the attitudes towards these characters we can conclude that Shrek is very lonely and doesn’t like to be closed to others Shrek isn’t capable doing horrible things to others even if he really wants to. He feels others hate him and do not want to get to know him just because he is an ogre.

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Shrek and Donkey visit Duloc to try and get Shrek’s swamp back from Lord Farquaad . Donkey thinks that Shrek is too kind and should not have to ask as the swamp belongs to him anyway. Donkey tells Shrek to “pull some ogre stuff” to get Lord Farquaad to give him back his swamp. Viewers feel that Shrek is not capable of doing this as he isn’t even vaguely frightening. Lord Farquaad then offered Shrek to fight his knights and instead of Shrek  accepting the challenge to solve the dispute, he offers to “settle it over a pint” trying ...

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