Sunday, 29 December 2013

Reading Assignment #6: Fine Tuning Text Connections

Shrek the Musical (118)
Text to Text/World Connection

Shrek the Musical bears some resemblance in terms of plot to Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. In A Tale of Two Cities, there is a large class of peasants and lower-class people who are governed by reigning aristocrats. These aristocrats, called Marquis, held a lot of power and used it irresponsibly, showing very little interest or care for the lives of lower-class citizens. One example of this is when the Marquis St. Evr√©monde is riding through the streets of Paris in his carriage and orders the carriage to be sped up until he is recklessly careening through the streets. In the process, a peasant boy is run over and killed. As compensation, the Marquis tosses the father of the late boy a single coin, displaying that he clearly does not care for the lower class. The aristocracy depicted in this book differs from, but is similar to the monarchy ruled by Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical. Farquaad expresses distaste towards the fairy tale creatures, who represent the lower class in this particular connection, or otherwise an oppressed minority. 
In the lower class in A Tale of Two Cities, a group forms, calling themselves the Jacques. This is a revolutionary anti-aristocracy secretive clan than grows and eventually forms a forceful revolution of the French government, killing anyone who steps in their way. The fairy tale creatures in Shrek the Musical don't go quite this far, but akin to the novel by Dickens, the fairy tale creatures, representing the oppressed lower class band together with plans to overthrow the government. They come together and end up executing Lord Farquaad in a sense, as they direct a dragon to eat him. Just like in the contrasting novel, he is publicly killed and made into an example for others who might try to stop the revolution.
The two stories do not align perfectly, though both feature a flawed government with too much power, an oppressed lower class, and a revolutionary band that comes up from the lower class to overthrow and execute the current figures of power. Though this is primarily a text to text connection, I also listed it as a text to world connection, as A Tale of Two Cities is based on the French Revolution, a real even that took place in France in the 1790s.

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