The Meaning of the Labyrinth in Pan's Labyrinth (2006) and The Labyrinth (1986)

Deconstruct and draw parallels between the representation of the labyrinth in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and Jim Henson’s The Labyrinth (1986). What is the labyrinth an allegory for? What does the journey imply for the time periods that the films are set in? What do the creatures represent that the main character encounters?

  • Perhaps examining the original labyrinth of Daedalus would be helpful. – JDJankowski 9 years ago
  • Labyrinths in history are a symbol of confusion. Situations in our lives can leave us feeling lost in a proverbial maze. The trick to the symbol is there is a way out of any labyrinth, albeit a hard one to discover. – ACMoore 9 years ago
  • I'm sure a twenty-paged paper could cover this well. I'll just say, they are ancient references. They are strangely earthy symbols of mythology. They are symbols of whatever you want (in these two, deceit is a big theme). But don't be frustrated by the endless dead-ends. Just be like the labyrinth-jumpers of The Cat Returns and run over the walls instead. – IndiLeigh 9 years ago
  • The central ambiguity in Pan's Labyrinth is whether the protagonist's experiences are real or are fantasies caused by her mind's attempt to process trauma. – JLaurenceCohen 9 years ago
  • I agree with IndiLeigh--a twenty page paper on this would be glorious. In my perception, the labyrinth acts as setting for a type of escapism for the protagonists in both films. They are allowed to stray from their realities - the harsh one of Ofelia's and the perceived harsh one of Sarah's - into a world where they yield power and control that they otherwise don't feel they have. Ofelia must navigate a violent and oppressive world to find acceptance and wonder and safety, and Sarah must navigate herself to gain a mature understanding of real vs. fantasy and why each are important to her world. – kyn19 9 years ago

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