Kung Fu Panda is a movie franchise I’m sure many are familiar with. It follows the exploits of a gluttonous Panda, Po, who goes from being an enthusiastic fanboy, to the humble leader of the Furious Five and the defender of China. A common theme in the movies is the concept of fate, or rather the inability to avoid fate. This concept is first shown in Po, who, despite being reluctant to accept his role as the Dragon Warrior ,eventually lives up to the title, many times over. However, the concept of destiny and fate seems to apply to all of the many characters in the series, good or bad, one of the most prelavent examples being Shen. Shen makes his debut in Kung Fu Panda 2. He is a Peacock King, obsessed with fighting fate, more than any other. Seeking to maintain his rule and high standing as a king, he constantly consults the ‘Soothsayer’, a foturne telling goat, for advice. When faced with the possibility of his kingship being threatened by “a warrior of black and white”, as told by the Soothsayer, he eliminates everything in his path, this being any Pandas and even his own parents. However, his mad rush to quickly silence any possible threats, leads to his own downfall, with Po eventually defeating him in a final confrontation. Though as expressed by the Soothsayer, Shen could have certainly maintained kingship, his arrogance, cruelty and paranoia lead to his demise. In the end, he, a black and white warrior himself, fell to his own schema.
Shen’ tale is one eerily similar to Oedipus. They both exemplify an arrogance and greediness that leads to their downfalls. They try to fight fate, which in of itself isn’t terrible, but their methods ultimately seal the tragic fate which awaits the two. A lack of desire to humble oneself and control their violent tendencies makes them susceptable to the tradgedies of their fates. In the world of Kung Fu Panda, the pressure and stress of fate is known not solely to Shen. All of the characters, even his ‘conqueror ‘, Po, know the cruelty of fate. Though Po felt the stress of fate and its expectations for him, expectations which he at many times tried to run from, through humility he was able to accept and eventually conquer the obstacles which fate laid out for him favorably. Shen, his polar opposite in the movie, lacked this humility needed to shift his fate favorably. The raw and unbridled desire to dominate fate led to an equally harsh end. Such is true of Oedipus. He also lives in a world where many people are subject to the fate which the gods bestow upon them and the will which they hold over them. Even the gods of Greek Mythology themselves are subject to the strings of fate. However, there is a stark difference in the reaction. Odysseus, a ccontemporary king of Greek myths, also was reluctant to accept his fate, which, in his case was engaging in war. However, a humility towards the gods of their world allowed him to endure the obstacles and ultimately be rewarded. Oedipus knew no such humility and as retribution, was made the most humble and pitiable of humans or any beings for that matter, by the end.
In contemporary society, crime tells the story of both Oedipus and of Shen. Instead of fate though, we have Law. The Law(federal and religious), acts as the overarching aspect of society which all of us must submit to. Those who commit crimes, be theft, rape or murder, are those who refuse to submit to the law, just as Shen and Oedipus did not submit to fate. All of us, whichever the country, are subject to the law and all people have felt the harshness and unfairness of law at some point of another. However, we acknowledge that it is a necessary force in order to maintain some semblance of peace in the world we live in, and we are better off for it when following it. People who commit crimes, justifiable or unjustifiable may have also felt the sting of law prior to committing crimes, yet feel they have the authority to go against it, as though they alone have felt the unfairness or constrainment of it. They fail to show humility in the face of the law, both federal and religious, and suffer for it, either dying or being sent to prison. By that point they may feel humility in the face of law just like Shen and Oedipus with fate, but by that time, it is too late.
Skaie Cooper,Team Ares