“Labyrinth”, with David Bowie

The Labyrinth (allegory)

The labyrinth in the film is an allegory for coming of age and entering the world of adulthood. Initially, Sarah is portrayed as a character in a fairy tale until it is revealed that she is indeed a regular teenage girl in contemporary society. As such, the film demonstrates that she still has a juvenile perception of the world but all that is about to change. The labyrinth is eerie and filled with characters and challenges that are disconcerting akin to adulthood. By the end of her mission, Sarah has embraced a new perspective alluding to the growth undergone while in the maze. Furthermore, as a female, the labyrinth alludes to the patriarchal society in which the Goblin King is the patriarchy. Accordingly, the phrase “You have no power over me” by Sarah is a feminist declaration against the gender power imbalance.

The Bog of Eternal Stench (symbol)

The Bog of Eternal Stench is a bubbling swamp that is repulsive as its name suggests where Sarah and Hoggle momentarily get trapped. Moments before Jareth had warned Hoggle against kissing Sarah unless he wishes to be the ‘Prince of the Land of Stench’. Subsequently, Sarah kisses Hoggle as an appreciation for saving her in the labyrinth of which Jareth opens a trap door into the bog. The sludgy and rancid mess symbolize the Goblin King’s jealousy because Sarah has formed a friendship with Hoggle. Jealousy is exhibited by the main characters including Sarah whose envy led her to cast he brother into the realm of Goblins.

The Oubliette (symbol)

Oubliettes act as obstacles that deter Sarah from completing her mission in time. Thereupon after she falls in the dungeon the task begins again at the start of the maze. The oubliettes symbolize the nature of failure and the ability to restart again with a second chance or more. It is denoted that Jareth casts his enemies in the oubliettes with no possibility of return as they are forever forgotten. The labyrinth as an allegory for adulthood, the oubliette is the disillusionment that either leads to character development or complete failure.

Double-crossing (motif)

Through a closer look, every character is self-serving and underhanded to varying degrees depending on their ability to be better. Assuredly certain characters play their cards to benefit from every scenario particularly Hoggle. To prove his loyalty Jareth Hoggle double-crosses Sarah on several occasions, for instance, he offers her the enchanted peach after claiming his trustworthiness. On the other hand, he betrays the Goblin King by helping Sarah because he considers her a friend. Moreover, minor characters such as the worm double-cross the girl by directing her into the wrong track.

Friendship and Loyalty (motif)

As much as disloyalty is exhibited in the labyrinth Sarah manages to form genuine friendships and gain loyalty in her journey. Though she starts the mission unaided she gathers friends with every challenge she faces with them. The climactic confrontation in the Goblin City finds herself accompanied by Hoggle, Ludo, and Sir Didymus including Ambrosius. They face the adversities and adversaries as a team to help her complete the labyrinth despite the possible consequences for aiding her.

Source: Grade Saver

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