Shrek (character)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Shrek is a fictional ogre character created by American author William Steig. Shrek is the protagonist of the book of the same name and of eponymous films by DreamWorks Animation. The name "Shrek" is derived from the German word Schreck, meaning "fright" or "terror".

Fictional biography

Shrek is a large, green, physically intimidating ogre with a Scottish accent. Even though his background is something of a mystery, according to Shrek The Musical, it is revealed that on his 7th birthday, Shrek was sent away by his parents because it was an ogre tradition. He is seen traveling alone, being either screamed at or teased by passers-by. The only time he receives a pleasant greeting is a wave from a young Fiona, who is promptly led away by her parents. In the book, his parents threw him into a dark hole that leads to the real world.

After scaring away an angry mob, he arrives at his swamp, enters an outhouse, and literally breaks out as the adult Shrek. Though surly, dangerous, misanthropic, and venomously cranky, Shrek is peaceful and does not care to hurt anyone, but just wants to live in solitude and be left alone. Shrek is accompanied by Donkey, an excitable and hyperactive talking donkey. When Shrek is first seen, he successfully scares off villagers by roaring at them, but it later becomes obvious that they were only attacking him because he is an ogre rather than because he did anything wrong.

In Shrek, during a conversation with Donkey, he laments that he is constantly judged by the outside world the minute people meet him, and is thus better off alone ("Look, I'm not the one with the problem, okay? It's the world that seems to have a problem with me. People take one look at me and go 'Aah! Help! Run! A big stupid ugly ogre!' They judge me before they even know me. That's why I'm better off alone."). This implies that he became a recluse after trying and failing to find acceptance among others.

Another factor causing lack of acceptance can be found in Shrek the Third, where it is revealed that Shrek's father tried to eat him. As he says, "I guess I should have seen it coming. He used to bathe me in barbecue sauce and put me to bed with an apple in my mouth," even though he might have been joking.

When he finds squatters where he lives, he attempts to evict them only to learn he has no legal recourse against them, for he does not own the swamp. Shrek is hired by Lord Farquaad to rescue Princess Fiona in exchange for the deed to the swamp, with which he can legally banish the squatters.

However, during the course of the mission, Shrek falls deeply in love with Fiona. Being an ogre, Shrek has considerable physical strength, being able to break wood and metal constructs, get in physical combat with a number of armored humans and usually winning, and even lifting or turning objects that are too heavy for a normal human being, such as a gigantic vat of magic potion against the maximum security of the Fairy Godmother in Shrek 2.

In Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party!, Shrek sings "Just the Way You Are". In Far Far Away Idol, he sang "What I Like About You" by The Romantics with Fiona. Shrek has a little problem socializing due to the fact that people think he is a mean ugly ogre, even though his appearance is remarkably humanoid, with a few cosmetic exceptions. In the process Shrek is said to have sociophobia.

However, from Shrek the Third onward, Shrek has become a well-liked celebrity, at least in Far Far Away. In the fourth movie, people manage to realize that Shrek is not dangerous and lose their fear and prejudice against him, but to Shrek's dismay they also come to regard him as a folk hero and visit him with even more frequency than before, disturbing him. But after the experiences of the movie, Shrek comes to appreciate his life more than ever.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Shrek (character)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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