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Symbolism in Pan's Labyrinth

The story of Pan’s Labyrinth follows that of a little girl who is mesmerised by books and fairytales. Finding herself living amongst cruelty, she uses her vivid imagination in an attempt to deal with the reality of death she's surrounded in. As well as offering escape of the real world, it also expands her mind to life’s endless possibilities. The narrative uses psychology in the movie based on how children frequently use fairytales to cope with everyday pressures as a form of coping mechanism.

When asked about whether the story is real or all Ofelia’s imagination, Del Toro has repeatedly exclaimed that a story can have many different meanings according to different people. “Objectively, the way I structures it, there are clues to tell you... that it’s real.” More specifically, the chalk materialising on Vidal’s desk or Ofelia’s flee through a dead end labyrinth.

I decided to incorporate all the prominent imagery and symbolism to me in my illustrated piece for the film. The book in itself I found the most crucial part of the story. The book is the object/symbolism that combines the fairytale to the real world. It is also the part that initiates fantasy and reality into Ofelia’s life. In the first scene of the film, where Ofelia’s character is introduced to the audience, we see her reading one of her many books. Her mother even notes how inseparable she is to her stories and how she gets too entangled in the narratives.


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