Imaginary Journeys Are Learning Experiences - the Tempest, Pan's Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland

An imaginative journey is a figurative adventure, which challenges the existing values and attitudes of individuals, resulting in growth intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. The journey can be both positive and negative, can reflect on real life, create a sense of perfection and act as a chance to re-evaluate what cannot be controlled in the reality. This is clearly illustrated in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, ‘El Laberinto del Fauno’ (2006, international title ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’) directed by Guillermo del Toro, and Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
The Imaginary can be both a positive or negative place, depending on who is controlling it. In ‘The Tempest’ Gonzalo imagines an ideal world where there is “No sovereignty’, a society where everything is shared. Antonio and Sebastian laugh at him but he rebukes them and keeps control over their small group. Prospero uses his magic and superior knowledge to torment Alonso in order for him to gain Prospero’s forgiveness for banishing him. Alonso therefore has a negative outlook of the imaginary because he believes his son is dead. Caliban also sees it as a negative place because he is resentful of Prospero enslaving him. In ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ Ofelia begins with a positive view of the imaginary, as a Faun offers her the control of her own destiny. This is ironic because in order to gain control she must allow herself to be controlled and follow his instructions. As her fantasy is corrupted by her stepfather Captain Vidal it has a negative impact on her as she struggles to fight off the nightmare her dream has become. In ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Alice finds the imaginary to have a very positive effect on her as she found reality boring and the fantasy was an escape and an adventure. This adventure turns negative as she discovers the cruel side of Wonderland upon meeting the Queen of Hearts.
The imaginary can reflect the characteristics and traits of the individual throughout their journey. An example of this in...