Sociology Essay Paper on Social Psychology Concepts in Shrek (2001)

Social Psychology Concepts in Shrek (2001)

The movie Shrek (2001) took a twist from the usual lessons that seemed to be carried in several of the fairytales that have been portrayed by movies. Most of these movies seemed to tell of a young beautiful girl, who may at times be poor, but will always get to marry a rich young prince and somehow end up with a lot of wealth. This may impact the society negatively especially for those who may not have that much wealth and status to woo women, or for the girl who may not have the beauty to charm the rich ‘prince’.

Evolutionary psychology refers to the study of evolution of behavior by the use and observation of natural selection (Bargh, 2013). In class, this concept was exhibited by the use of demo 5-2. In this case, various questions were posed to the students that would help them understand this concept through the answers that they gave. For instance, students were asked whom they would save from drowning between a twenty year old and five years old. Naturally, most people chose to save the five year old. The reason that was given was that the five year old was helpless both in body and in mind. The twenty year old was better placed at coming up with methods of getting themselves out of the predicament, even if they did not know how to swim. The five year old was also favorable because of the potential that they still have in the world, such as their ability to live longer. Students were also asked how important age would be when it came to choosing a partner. Naturally, most of them said that they preferred to have a younger one as compared to an older one. This again ties the issue of potential that is seen in the person, such as the fact that they are likely to have more children and live longer (Wyer & Srull 2014)

In the movie Shrek, this concept is seen first of all in the perception that Princess Fiona has towards Shrek when he comes to save her. The whole time she has been locked up in the tower, she believed that the person who would come and rescue her would be a handsome prince. She is taken aback when the repulsive ogre shows up instead. The reason for this is the perception that people of her time and place had towards ogres. They were seen to be ruthless animals that lived for nothing but to hurt others. It was also easier and preferable for her to end up with a prince who was rich enough to provide her with a kingdom and a good life. This concept is also seen once Fiona and Shrek have declared their love for each other and have shared a kiss. Instead of Shrek turning into a handsome man as took place in the other fairy tale known as princess and the frog or beauty and the beast, Fiona is the one who instead turns into an ogre. This makes the people of the kingdom resent them because royalty as had been the norm, was expected to be good looking people.

The overconfidence phenomenon refers to a concept where a certain individual has the feeling that he is above everybody else and that he matters most (Staiton, 2011). People who have this behavior tend to be negative towards the efforts of others and will always see that he is the best at everything. In demonstration of this concept, students were subjected to demo 3-6. Here, ten students were chosen at random and were asked to say things about themselves that could either be true or false. The rest of the students were then asked to state which of those factors named were true and which ones were false. It was found that the person who stated factors about themselves gave those factors higher percentages than other people gave them. This therefore proves the overconfidence phenomenon because the person believes that he knows better about himself than anybody else.

Lord Farquad brings this concept in to better focus in the movie Shrek. This is because first of all he believes that fairy tales are all a lie, for the simple reason that he does not believe in them. This therefore drives him into abducting all the fairy tale characters and banishing them from the land, without the least regard for their feelings and their welfare. It is also brought into play after he finds the mirror that tells him in order to become a royal; he has to marry a princess. Without thinking about whether these women will love him or not, he begins to go through the list to choose the most appropriate one for him. He then sends out Shrek to rescue the princess from the dragon. He is so sure about himself that he does not think that the lady may fall in love with ogre. He is very sure of himself and that when the girl is brought to him, she will marry him without a second thought. The concept is also brought out in Shrek at the beginning, before he begins to fall in love with Fiona. He is closed in and does not let any person in. He refuses to give shelter to the fairytale characters after they are sent away by lord Farquad. Fiona is not spared either, due to the many fairytales that promise people happy endings, the whole time she has been stuck in the tower, she has always believed that the man who would rescue her would be a handsome prince. This is why at the beginning she is so adamant about letting Shrek in that she refuses to even leave the castle when he comes for her. She believes in herself so much and in the fact that she can only be rescued by the kind of person that those books describe.

Self esteem is another concept. This is majorly about self worth and the perception that a person has towards himself (Nevid, 2012). This can be either in the positive or in the negative. When a person always thinks about himself or herself in the positive manner, they are said to have high self esteem or overconfidence. When the reverse is the case, the person is said to have low self esteem. In class, this concept was brought into scrutiny through the use of demo 2-1. Students were given ten statements and they were asked to rank those statements according to their feelings about themselves, the highest numbers being received by those who were concluded to have low self esteem, and vice versa. It therefore showed that different people had different perceptions about themselves.

In the movie, high self esteem is seen in Lord Farquad, despite the fact that he is short and arrogant and is generally not liked by anybody. He believes a lot in himself and in his abilities. He does not see any worth in any other person, which leads him to banish the fairytale characters from the land. He also believes that he is the best of the best and expects the mirror on the wall to tell him as much. However, this kind of behavior is also often shown by those who actually have low self esteem and look for factors or things that will make them think the contrary, which probably again leads to the reason he seeks the mirror on the wall (Simpson & Kenrick, 2013). He is in dire need of something that will validate the fact that he is the best.

Shrek in the movie suffers from low self esteem. He knows that he is an ugly ogre and therefore nobody is capable of loving him because of this. It is the reason he does not bother with fairy tales as is seen in the beginning of the movie when he trashes one that he is reading, because it talks about a handsome prince, something he is never going to be. It is also the reason he does not think that the princess Fiona is capable of loving him, because he knows that she is waiting for a prince to rescue and marry her. This is why when he and Fiona differ, he is very quick at letting her go, and it only takes the urging of Donkey for him to rush back and rescue Fiona before she gets married to Lord Farquad.

Works Cited

Bargh, J. A. (Ed.). (2013). Social psychology and the unconscious: The automaticity of higher mental processes. Psychology Press.

Nevid, J. (2012). Psychology: Concepts and applications. Cengage Learning.

Simpson, J. A., & Kenrick, D. (Eds.). (2013). Evolutionary social psychology. Psychology Press.

Stainton Rogers, W. (2011). Social psychology. McGraw-Hill International.

Wyer Jr, R. S., & Srull, T. K. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of Social Cognition: Volume 1: Basic Processes Volume 2: Applications. Psychology Press.