Shrek – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Shrek lives in swamp alone, he likes his privacy. He doesn’t have any relationship with the outside world.

Call to Adventure

Lord Farquad sends fairy tale creatures to be exiled to his swamp, destroying his way of life.

Refusal of the call

Shrek refuses to accept this and goes to find out who is responsible.

Supernatural Aid

Donkey is his mentor, he teaches him how to be a better person and a friend.

Belly of the whale

Entering Lord Farquad’s castle and fighting all his knights. Usually this stage happens either just after the crossing of the First threshold but often it is just before it as well. It’s the first battle which he nearly dies. (Although he easily defeats all the challengers he is held at bay by the knights by their pole axes and agrees to Lord Farquad’s offer)

Crossing the First Threshold

Lord Farquad promises him he’ll give him back his swamp if he rescues Princess Fiona  and so he goes on the journey with his new partner Donkey.

The Road of the trials

One of the stages of the road of trials is a Dragon Battle and he literally fights a Dragon in this stage to rescue the Princess from the castle.

Meeting with the Goddess

He rescues Princess Fiona and she turns out to be very different from what he imagined and she chastises him “You shouldn’t judge people before you get to know them.”

Woman as Temptress

This was omitted in this story, although you may disagree, if so feel free to list the moment you think is the Temptress in the comments below.

Death of the mentor

Shrek and Donkey have a fight and break up.

Atonement with the Father

Shrek reveals to Donkey that he’s sad because people judge him before they get to know him and that’s why he likes being alone.


Apotheosis in Shrek takes the form of knowledge and that happens when Donkey discovers that Fiona is an ogre are night and a princess during the day.

Ultimate Boon

Shrek hands over the Princess and gets the deed to his swamp. His mission which began with the Call to adventure has now been completed, however he still has something to do. This story is a very clear example of the initial goal of a story is completed by the end of Act II however, he now has a new goal to complete in Act III.

The Magic flight

After the Donkey has talked him into going back to declare his love for Fiona he realizes that he’s too late and there’s no way he can get there in time to stop her wedding. Donkey has the answer, he’s brought his new love the Dragon and flies him back to stop the wedding.

The crossing of the return Threshold

Shrek runs into the church to stop the wedding and publically declare his love.

Rescue from without

The Dragon breaks into the church and eats

Master of two worlds

Shrek and Fiona kiss and her curse is broken, she doesn’t understand that she still an ugly ogress until Shrek tells her that she is beautiful to him.

Freedom to live

Shrek and Fiona get married in the swamp and go on their honeymoon



13 Replies to “Shrek – The Hero’s journey breakdown”

  1. Thanks so much. Im in 8th grade and i had an assignment for Shrek on the sequence of the events or something. and i didnt know what boon meant so i search it up and found about all the information i needed!!! You worked hard thanks.

  2. I think that the woman as a temptress could be the dragon with donkey. She falls in love with him, and donkey becomes preoccupied with her as she captures him and they flirt.

    1. I can understand why you might say that, but Shrek is just trying to protect himself from getting hurt. Obviously it doesn’t mean it’s right to be rude to others because of that, but it’s kind of all Shrek knows. Throughout the movies you can see Shrek becoming more kind and I think that’s what matters. He was willing to change his character because he knew it was wrong and he did. That is an admirable quality. Now talking about Shrek’s looks. Sure, he isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed or “conventionally attractive” but I don’t think that’s a valid reason to hate someone. I am not trying to invalidate you’re feelings towards Shrek, I am simply stating my opinion if you are willing to listen to that. Have a good day.

  3. Thank you for uploading this it really helped me with an assessment task man but I hope I ace it with my work to thanks anyway!

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