Gothic aspects in the Jim Henson film, "Labyrinth"

Essay by crimsonbutterflyHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2006

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A labyrinth, a maze of meandering pathways which leads inevitably from the entrance to the centre. A symbol in mythology, it represents a twisting, intricate journey, guarding the central goal from direct access.

Explored in the Jim Henson children's film Labyrinth, Sarah the young protagonist must complete the labyrinth within 13 hours to save her baby brother from the Goblin King. The themes of Gothic are thus: the exploration of dreams and reality, and eroticism through the sexual role reversal.

In this film, gothic is used in popular culture to explore the psychological labyrinth in the minds of all adolescents, a frightening and fascinating place that they can't quite understand or control. The oubliette for example is a dark and confined place where there is no light, the fairies represent the crazy untamed pieces of existence that are repressed, and the Bog of Eternal Stench is a commentary of restrictions in society, quote "If you so much as set a foot in the Bog of Eternal Stench, you'll smell bad for the rest of your life."

Sarah has thus taken the inner journey of the adolescence and using gothic, transformed it into the physical state.

The Gothic theme of the line between fantasy and reality is blurry, and it's difficult, if not in fact impossible, to distinguish one from the other. This is most noticeable in Sarah's room where the two mediums mesh, revealing the characters Sarah encounters in the labyrinth from her bedroom -for eg. Dolls and stuffed animals resembling the creatures she meets in the maze, a board game designed as a maze, a musical doll wearing the gown from the ballroom scene, and newspaper clippings of Sarah's mother who had a relationship with her stage partner, pictured to be the Goblin King. These parallels make the...