Shrek: ‘The unexpected’ as the Real We always encounter the very opposite of what we expect.

It is very natural that in the popular cartoon- animated movie Shriek (2001) ‘the unexpected’ becomes the Real (impossible to imagine). Princess Fiona was expecting her handsome ‘Lord’ to come and rescue her from the tallest tower, and Shriek was wanting a peaceful existence in his swamp which he supposed to materialize with the ‘deed’ from Lord Farquaad after rescuing Fiona. The price he had to pay for his freedom is based on a woman who is imprisoned in a dragon guarded tower and preprogrammed to be ‘free’ (once she is ‘free’, Shriek is destined to ‘fall’ or entrapped). But what happens to his pre-supposition? His presupposed peace was deeply disturbed by a donkey who is a real ‘chatterbox’ as introduced by his owner to the soldier at the time when he was sold to the fairy tale creatures’ cart. The donkey was supposed to talk at the exchange market but it did not. But unexpectedly he started talking after lantern fell on his head. The soldier did not expect the donkey to talk assuming that it was a trick on him. Then he realized that he not only flies but actually ‘talks’. The donkey sings chats and interrupts Shriek when he is in need of tranquility but only through that disturbance, he starts the catharsis about his disappointment about the world and his being as an ogre. He wanted everyone to be ‘away’ from his swamp but we find eventually all the fairy tale creatures trafficked into his territory. Though he wanted to be lonely he happened to go to the public several times to get his swamp back and later to rescue Fiona (and finally to become a Prince!). He finally undertook the task of rescuing Fiona as compensation of his peace but that act itself stole his peace in life. If you can remember the scene, when he brings a sunflower to offer her (just before he overheard Fiona’s chat with donkey), he says that ‘I am in trouble’. This means that he is no more than a ‘fallen victim’ of desire. Lord Farquaad was expecting a beautiful princess to give his kiss so that he can become the King but Fiona metamorphosed into an ugly fatty woman after sunset (the truth about Fiona was about to be revealed by the magic mirror but Farquaad was not ready to listen to the ‘truth’ at that time. The negligence is, in this case, preprogrammed (like the canned laughter in the audience) in us by making us blind in the venture of seeking our fantasy. Fiona was confronted with a bitter truth that her rescuer is an ogre in a helmet (the identity is hidden to be ‘revealed’ here). But the long journey from the tower to the palace is set in order to give them time to digest the hard truth about each other. Shriek says that she is different to what he thought her to be and she says that one should not judge ‘things’ by appearance. We now come across a woman who changed from a princess to an ordinary woman who is even ready to live with an ogre. This is something that Shriek never expected. What makes this match possible is the hidden fact that Fiona too becomes ugly after sunset. This means that both beauty and ugliness are mutually existing in us and the meeting point in both beauty and ugliness is possibly pre-programmed in us to be discovered at the ‘right time’. The entire movie deals with the possible meeting points of the very opposite of our desire to the other. The extremes ends are dissolved and evaporated in the relationships in the movie and each character (except Lord Farquaad whose motive is more than a human relationship) finds some union amidst chaos. Therefore, though we do not live in a fairy tale world, it is logical that the movie is structured as a fairy tale.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful