The Theme of Obedience in Pan's Labyrinth

1553 Words May 30th, 2012 7 Pages
El Laberinto del Fauno

Obedience is a recurrent theme in El Laberinto del Fauno, discuss at least two examples and what they represent.

In El Laberinto del Fauno, Guillermo del Toro uses the theme of obedience to illustrate and condemn two repressive components of fascism: patriarchy and the coercion of free will. This essay will look at two examples of obedience in the film which reveal the abhorrent nature of these aspects of fascism and the importance of resisting them. These are, respectively, the relationship between Captain Vidal and Mercedes and Ofelia’s refusal to compromise her own integrity.
The obedience which Mercedes demonstrates towards Captain Vidal is extremely significant in the film as her dutiful submissiveness is a
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This is a comment about the importance of freedom of choice; something which is completely compromised in a Fascist regime. Del Toro affirms ‘I thought it would be great to counterpoint an institutional lack of choice, which is fascism, with the chance to choose, which the girl takes in this movie.’ The scene in which Ofelia refuses to sacrifice her brother is particularly symbolic of her refusal to compromise her morality; in doing so she risks the wrath of the enigmatic faun and of Captain Vidal who is in pursuit of the baby. Moreover, she sacrifices her own desire to escape the brutality around her and realise her fantasy of becoming a princess. Michael J. Bayly maintains that ‘Ofelia’s disobedience of the faun’s demand…proves to be a deeply significant act of courage and integrity. Such acts are beyond the comprehension of her step-father and the world of fascist mythology he seeks to both build and embody.’ Del Toro states, ‘la desobediencia es totalmente lo contrario del fascismo’ and this act illustrates the stark contrast between the humanity and virtue demonstrated by Ofelia and the blind obedience of the fascists. Del Toro explains ‘Lo que me interesa del fascismo es justamente que es un hoyo negro de la voluntad. Es un sistema que no necesariamente es único, pero absuelve la
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