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The Film Pan's Labyrinth

The film Pan’s Labyrinth, has several common concepts with Joseph Campbell’s theory on heroes in Hero with a Thousand Faces. His theory emphasizes on tests that show their moral and basic instincts for the rite of passage to their threshold, in this case, the underworld. Campbell’s theory is a concept that surrounds an individual’s journey to heroism. This concept pertains to Ophelia due to her circumstances as a child who ventures out on thresholds, tests, and so forth. Campbell’s depiction relates to Ophelia as he describes the levels in which one must attain and accept as a female heroine. Furthermore, his theory exaggerates on the making of a hero to the resurrection in terms of physical and spiritual transformation. Ophelia’s character depicts a hero who has been resurrected as a human. Thus, she begins her journey to cross the threshold, “pass from the everyday world in the world of adventure,” (Campbell). There are many stages in the film that depicts Ophelia’s introduction to the stages of being a hero. More so, it focuses on tasks, which Ophelia must pass or fail in order to determine her role in the film; Princess of the Underworld or just a human soul. This is lead by the faun who simply reassures a place of ‘paradise’ for Ophelia only with her cooperation to listen and follow her morals.
In many ways, Ophelia is interpreted as a hero who has set out to test her moral skills and at the end it is determined whether she has passed the tests in order to “define the hero’s role in society,” (Campbell). There were three tasks all together, first was to receive a key; second, follow instructions to get a dagger; and third was facing a monster; Captain Vidal. The ultimate test Ophelia faced was shown at the end of the fi...

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...sychologically mind altering like the Pale Man, where fear was challenged. Ophelia’s adventure through the threshold, tests, and death holds significance to the film and meaning. The hero’s return to the threshold is basically what Campbell refers to as a resurrection of the hero who returns to her royal placement as Princess of the Underworld. Even with her final task of initiation, her obedience to the faun failed but the test was accomplished because of her self-sacrifice. She proved her selfless act of heroism instead of spilling the blood of her beloved brother. Hence, this is considered a spiritual journey/transformation for the hero as she is initiated to the rite of passage; the Underworld. The final scene is more of a positive transition from the human world to a different realm that praises Ophelia (the hero) for her self-sacrifice and loving nature.
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