Study Guide

Pan's Labyrinth Rules and Order

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Rules and Order

Some rules are meant to be broken. Or, in Ofelia's case, all rules.

While the human world is full of the order imposed by a authoritarian regime, the supernatural world of Pan's Labyrinth also has its own set of laws. But Ofelia doesn't care much for either—and this is a good thing.

The fairies and the Faun aren't necessarily trying to help Ofelia; they're trying to test her. And how she passes these tests is by listening to her own intuition or conscience instead of giving in to their authority.

Questions About Rules and Order

  1. Is every instance of disobedience good? What about Moanna's escape to the surface or Ofelia's grape snacking? Are their specific contextual reasons why breaking the rules in these instances could be bad? Or is it more about possessing judgement and free will?
  2. Do you think Pan's Labyrinth is an explicit anti-authoritarian film? Or is that just a part of the setting del Toro used to help further Ofelia's narrative?
  3. What does Ferreiro mean when he tells Vidal "people like you"? People captivated by power and control? Military leaders? Violent people? People obsessed with their fathers' broken watches?

Chew on This

Ofelia's tests were designed to see if she would stray from the required path. If she did, they would know she has retained her true immortal essence…as this was also a characteristic of Princess Moanna.

Ofelia is a spoiled child whose disobedience to her mother and failure to follow the rules during the Pale Man task were unwarranted. Her success in the final test was not necessarily one of disobedience but of self-sacrifice.

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