Mythology- Pan’s Labyrinth

This assignment consists of six discussion questions. You will write responses to four of these questions.


  1. What fundamental questions about human experience does Pan’s Labyrinth wrestle with? Pick ONE of the following topics, and discuss what the film says about the following subject: sacrifice; appearance vs. reality; how our choices define us; how hunger drives human behavior.
  2. What is the role of mythic or fantastic elements in Pan’s Labyrinth? What do you make of the truth value of these elements? Are the faun, Ofelia’s tasks, and her kingdom fantasy or reality in the world of the film? Ultimately, does it matter whether they are or not?
  3. Explore the symbolism of one of the following elements in Pan’s Labyrinth. What does the symbol represent? Why does the film reflect on that particular image? How does this symbol shape your interpretation of the film? Choose only ONE symbol to discuss, from the following list: clocks/timepieces; monsters; left imagery.
  4. Ofelia is, without a doubt, on a hero’s journey. What makes Ofelia heroic? List 5 heroic adjectives in relation to her, then discuss what these adjectives reveal about her character, Spanish culture, and about humanity in general. Why do we find her heroic? In other words, in what ways does she reflect your life experience? What does her behavior teach you about yourself?
  5. There are many trickster figures throughout Pan’s Labyrinth. Pick ONE trickster figure, and discuss the traits that makes he/she a trickster. Then answer the following questions: Why does this character need trickster qualities to succeed at their tasks? Is this trickster punished for his/her behavior? Why/why not? What does this character’s trickster behavior teach us about Spanish culture? About yourself?
  6. Pick ONE of the three main female characters (Ofelia, Mercedes, or Carmen) and discuss whether the character is a goddess of Life, Death, or Regeneration (although it is possible for the character to fit in multiple archetypes, write about ONLY ONE). Explain why she fits in that archetype (again, ONLY ONE), and how her archetype helps you understand her character better.





Sample Solution