Guillermo Del Toro’s 2006 film Pan’s Labyrinth/ El Laberinto del Fauno tells the story of a young girl, Ofelia, and her journey through the tasks set to her by a fantastical faun creature against the backdrop of 1940’s Franco Spain. On the outset, the story of Ofelia being a princess and going through her journey to be reunited with her father (a king of a magical kingdom) seems to be a classical formula for a fairy tale, yet Del Toro breaks that mold, warping it to encompass a wider range of emotional and narrative maturity. Within the diegesis of the film, Del Toro cleverly employs elements from past mythological traditions as both a symbolistic and narrative driver enhancing underlying the structure of the film as a whole. This essay will discuss how Pan’s Labyrinth adopts and adapts these preexisting mythological traditions, giving each tradition its own distinctive meaning within the overall narrative of the film.
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