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Themes and Character in Pan's Labyrinth

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Drisana Chand

on 23 September 2014

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Transcript of Themes and Character in Pan's Labyrinth

Theme and Character in Pan's Labyrinth
Vidal's power over Carmen in the real world
In the real world, the first instance that the audience sees of Vidal showing dominance over Carmen is in the first scene when Carmen and Ofelia arrive at Vidal’s camp. Vidal confines her to a wheelchair so that symbolically she is below him, shown through a low angle shot. The director’s purpose for using this symbolism and the use of the low angle shot is used to show Vidal towering over her to show his dominance. The wheelchair also symbolises Vidal’s control over Carman and also her being weak and disabled from doing anything, she is also constantly sedated in last few weeks of her pregnancy and is confined to her bedroom.
Pale Man and Vidal
Another way that Captain Vidal’s power is shown in the film is through the fantasy character of the pale man and through his actions of rationing food supplies to citizens. The Pale Man is a fantasy character that is an obstacle that Ofelia has to defeat in her fantasy world. The Pale Man is modeled after a painting by Francisco de Goya. The Pale Man shows Vidal's power and his control on society.
Captain Vidal at the beginning of the film.
Captain Vidal at the end of the film.
Captain Vidal during the middle of the film

Captain Vidal - Introduction
In the film Pan's Labyrinth the character of Captain Vidal is representing one of the key themes in the film, Power. He has a dark hunger for power and will consume all else in his path in order to obtain it. Through out the film Vidal is seen trying to obtain power and reinforce it upon other characters in the film.
Vidal in Pan’s Labyrinth represents fascism, which is symbolized by the blue is wearing. He is a vicious captain in the Franco’s Civil Guard based at a rural military post. He is in charge of eliminating the guerrillas resisting in the mountains.
Vidal and His Watch
The theme of power is also symbolized by the prop of Vidal's watch. Vidal has an obsession with time and fears that one day his time will run out and he will die. Vidal is so obsessed with time that even when you look closely at this room in the background you can see cogs which reference a clock. He lives within time constraints. His entire existence and the power that he is on an inevitable quest for is all based about him being about to live up to his father’s legacy, who was a great war hero and when he died he left behind a broken watch.
Wrapping up Vidal
Captain Vidal is a character who is on a inequitable quest for power that results in the worst possible consequences for him. Through his quest for power he has created a psychopathic and sadistic personality for himself and this is shown through the various cruel acts that he commits in the film to sustain his power and the cruel acts that his mirror characters carry out in the fantasy world
Vidal's Costume.
Through the use of costume design, the audience and the characters in the film get a sense of Captain Vidal's power and authority. This costume is blue and represents the idea that he supports the fascist regime and is in favor of Francisco Franco being the dictator of Spain.

Vidal and Carmen
The first instance that the audience sees of Captain Vidal representing the theme of power is when he shows his dominance over Ofelia's mother, Carmen.
Vidal's dominance/power over Carmen in the real world is also shown in the fantasy world which is a representation of how Ofelia sees Vidal's dominance over Carmen. In the fantasy world Vidal's power/dominance is represented through the character of the monstrous toad.
Vidal and The Cronus Complex
The idea of Vidal losing power over Ofelia as I mentioned before links into how Vidal wants to have complete power over everything including his unborn child (who is later born). Vidal is a father that suffers from the Cronus Complex and this shown through the Pale Man.
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