Shrek is the main character of the book and the Shrek movies. The name "Shrek" is derived from the German word, Schreck, and the Yiddish word, both meaning "fright" or "terror".
Although Shrek's background is something of a mystery, it is assumed that despite these traits, Shrek has always been an ogre of the non-hostile kind (and unlike the fairytale ogre, doesn't eat children), as he loves peace and quiet and lives in a swamp.
Shrek was befriended by Donkey, an excitable and hyperactive donkey.
In the first Shrek movie, during a conversation with Donkey, he laments that people "judge me before they even know me. That's why I'm better off alone," implying that he became a recluse after trying and failing to find acceptance among others. In Shrek the Third, it is revealed that Shrek had a father who tried to eat him as Shrek stated, "I should have seen it coming. He used to bathe me in barbecue sauce and put me to bed with an apple in my mouth.” It's possible that he could have been joking. In Far Far Away Idol, he sang "What I Like About You" by The Romantics with Fiona.
Shrek lives in an Ogre Swamp. The swamp, like any other swamp, is green and murky. The swamp contains small and big ponds of muddy water and also has geysers that squirt out mud. The swamp contains the living quarters of Shrek which consists of an outhouse and Shrek's house. The swamp is also a home to different kinds of species including the swamp slug that Shrek uses for his toothpaste. When he finds squatters where he lives, he agrees to the rescue of Princess Fiona to evict all the squatters. However, during the course of the mission, Shrek falls deeply in love with Fiona.
Shrek is voiced by Mike Myers (and is the only animated role Myers has done in his career), although it was planned to be voiced by Chris Farley before his death in 1997, and played by Brian d'Arcy James in the musical.
On May 21, 2010, Shrek received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named him one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.
Role in films
In the first film, Shrek is shown as a recluse who lives a fairly carefree life in his swamp. This all comes to an end as Lord Farquaad evicts the fairytale creatures from their homes, causing them to move to Shrek's swamp. This crusade against fairy tale creatures causes Donkey, a talking miniature donkey, to literally run into Shrek. Because of the squatters in Shrek's swamp, the ogre sets out for Duloc, where he ends up being an unwilling participant in a tournament for the 'privilege' to rescue Princess Fiona who was trapped in a castle under a dragon's watchful eye. Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle, managing to rescue the princess and escape the castle. During the journey back to Duloc, however, Shrek and Fiona start to fall for one another, hinted at by repeated scenes where their similarities were shown. After a short series of misadventures on the way to deliver her to Farquaad, Shrek finally realizes he's fallen in love with Fiona, only to become angry after hearing a conversation between her and Donkey, leading him to think she thought him as a hideous beast. Fiona tries to explain, but Shrek acts like a jerk and doesn't listen at all. He brings Farquaad to Fiona, and Farquaad ungratefully hands Shrek the deed to his swamp and doesn't thank Shrek at all. As soon as leaves with Farquaad, Donkey tries to explain everything, but Shrek harshly tells Donkey to leave and never come back. Shrek heads back to his newly acquired swamp, depressed over the recent events, until Donkey shows up, trying to claim ownership over half of the swamp. Shrek tells Donkey to go away, but Donkey tells Shrek that he's too afraid of his own feelings. Shrek then tells him to get lost, since he had realized long before that Shrek had fallen in love with Fiona, he tells him not to turn him away like he did to Fiona. Shrek tells Donkey he heard him and Fiona talking last night, but Donkey tells Shrek she wasn't talking about him. Shrek asks Donkey who she was really talking about, but Donkey refuses because he's still mad at Shrek for not listening to him. Shrek apologizes to Donkey and Donkey persuades Shrek to go get Fiona back. They fly to Dulco on Dragon whom Donkey seemed to have a relationship with, they arrived in Duloc to stop the marriage between Farquaad and Fiona, with Shrek publicly revealing Farquaad's intentions to marry Fiona in order to become king. Fiona tells him it's too late, and Shrek says that Farquaad isn't her true love, but Fiona questions him over what he actually knows about true love, Shrek not being able to answer. Farquaad realizes that Shrek has fallen in love with Fiona and ridicules Shrek. However, Fiona is now reluctant to kiss Farquaad and decides to reveal the curse instead. Fiona's transformation occurs, upon which Shrek immediately fully understands what he heard at the windmill, but Farquaad is disgusted and orders Shrek executed and Fiona banished back to her tower. Shrek and Fiona try to fend off the guards and are outnumbered, but Shrek manages to free himself long enough to whistle. Dragon bursts in and devours Farquaad, and Shrek and Fiona admit their love for one another, and they kiss. Later, their wedding is shown, and the movie ends with their carriage disappearing into the sunset, where the second movie would start.
After a joyful honeymoon, Shrek and Fiona return home to the annoying house-sitter Donkey, urging that they wish to be alone. Later, messengers of Fiona's kingdom "Far Far Away" deliver the invitation from her parents who wish to meet her new husband. Shrek doesn't want to go, but Fiona feels it's important to have Fiona's father's blessing. After a long carriage ride, Shrek and Fiona make their grand appearance in front of the entire kingdom, resulting in everyone being stunned. With some awkward greetings and suggestive angry stares, the meeting moves onto a dinner where Shrek and King Harold fight over dinner about raising children, after Harold belittles Shrek, just for being an ogre. Fiona is upset Shrek didn't try to get along with her father and she feels the relationship is one-sided since she changed for him and yet he remains unwilling to accept her family or even try to be friends with them, though no fault of his own. She tells Shrek that he should change for her and leaves. After being threatened by the Fairy Godmother, Harold convinces Shrek and Donkey to meet him on a hunting trail where they can get to know one another. They are then spotted by Puss in Boots, who was hired by King Harold to kill Shrek. He attacks Shrek but soon coughs up a hairball and fails. When the misunderstanding is resolved, Puss vows to accompany Shrek to make amends for the mistake. Shrek then uses a card the Fairy Godmother had given him earlier and decides to meet with the Fairy Godmother at her factory for help in mending his relationship with Fiona. In the factory, the trio is dismissed by the Godmother's bigotry against Ogres having happily ever afters and instead went to search for a beauty potion under the guise as workers. Shrek grabs the potion and the trio escape. While leaving, Shrek reads the potion though Donkey tries it first to see if it's effective. Shrek drinks as well, thinking it doesn't work on donkeys, though the results are the same except with more gas. The trio finds shelter from the rain in a small barn where Donkey and Shrek inexplicably pass out, with the same effects happening to Fiona in Far Far Away when she wanted to leave since her parents never gave Shrek a chance. In the morning while the potion activates, Shrek was turned into a handsome human and Donkey into a stallion, greeted by three farmhand girls. In Far Far Away, Fiona surprisingly finds herself back in human form as well but is tricked by Charming into believing that he is Shrek. After being manipulated by the Fairy Godmother, Shrek leaves believing Fiona would be happier with the prince of her dreams until he discovers that the Godmother is Charming's mother and intends to force Fiona to fall in love with him. Shrek, Donkey, and Puss are arrested after being spotted but they are seen by Gingy and the others. To storm the castle, Shrek and Gingy visit the Muffin Man who creates a giant gingerbread man to help in their quest. Shrek and Donkey storm through the castle with Puss fending off the guards. Later, Shrek, Puss, Donkey, and the other Fairy Tale Creatures battle with the Fairy Godmother, who tells Charming to kiss Fiona. The kiss proves ineffective since Harold didn't spike her tea with the love potion that was intended. Out of rage, the Fairy Godmother strikes at Shrek with her wand, but Harold's inference reflects the magic back at her, reducing her to bubbles. It's revealed he is actually a frog whom the Fairy Godmother had given a happily ever after and gives his blessings to Shrek and Fiona. When the clock strikes midnight, Shrek tells Fiona that if she wishes to stay in their human forms, then a kiss at that moment would make the spell permanent, despite him giving up his joy and lifestyle of being an ogre. Fiona makes him wait until they return back to normal, declaring she loves him as he is the one she married. A celebration goes underway with the seemingly dysfunctional family becoming a truly grand one in song and dance.
Shrek and Fiona take on the responsibilities as King and Queen while Fiona's father Harold remained bedridden. After many overwhelming mistakes and disasters, Shrek is ready to give up and leave until a messenger tells them that the Frog King was dying. Despite Harold's confidence in Shrek being a good king, he did mention of another heir named Arthur and left it to Shrek to do the right thing. Not wishing to rule and rather return to the swamp, Shrek, Donkey, and Puss start heading to search for Arthur with upon their leave Fiona telling Shrek that she is pregnant. Shrek starts to have a nightmare of having too many babies, later, seeing Donkey with a baby ogre's face as the nightmare continues. Shrek admits to Donkey that mostly he's afraid of being a bad parent since ogres aren't generally known for being kind or loving. His own relationship with his father probably played a role in his own parenting fears. Shrek first finds Artie at his high school, where everyone was bullying him. Shrek starts to make Artie go to Far Far Away, but Artie becomes uneasy by Puss and Donkey's bantering of the royal duties that await him. After being shipwrecked, Shrek begins to lose his patience with the boy, but in light of Donkey's advice, attempts to communicate with him in "street". His attempts all fail until it is revealed that Artie's father had abandoned him, which allows Shrek to find kinship with Artie since he too had father issues with his own father. In the morning, Shrek defeats Captain Hook and the others sent by Charming, then with Merlin's help, returns to Far Far Away. Upon realizing that Artie is the heir, Charming prepares to kill him, but Shrek stops him and boldly insults the poor boy, stating that he needed some fool to fill the royal job. Shrek becomes disenchanted over hurting Artie's feelings, but keeps his sense of humor until his friends arrive to the rescue with Artie talking the villains into reforming themselves (after Artie realized he should save Shrek and that he didn't mean anything he said to Charming). Artie assumes the role of king and Shrek now feels he is capable of being a father. The last scene shows he is the proud parent of triplets, and though makes mistakes, proves to be a great dad.
By the events of the fourth movie, Shrek's heroism and all he's done for Far Far Away have made humans lose their prejudice over ogres. Shrek is also now treated like a folk hero. He also enjoys being a parent, but soon enough, gets sick of it. At the triplets' first birthday, he starts getting angrier, and eventually loses his temper and smashes the birthday cake in anger. When Fiona confronts him, Shrek mourns for his life "when the world made sense". When Fiona asks if this means before he'd rescued her, Shrek cruelly confirms this. A shocked Fiona says that Shrek has "everything", before returning to the party, disappointed in him. Rumpelstiltskin has watched the scene and seizes his chance. As Shrek walks away, saying he isn't apologizing, he overhears cries for help and lifts the carriage under which Rumpelstiltskin was stuck. The dealer insists on giving Shrek a ride and a meal, where Shrek says he wished he has just one day to feel "like a real ogre again". Rumpelstiltskin immediately gives him a deal, though Shrek is still reluctant to sign, thinking that he couldn't leave his family like that, though he eventually signs. Shrek initially likes his day, but after seeing wanted posters for Fiona, he rushes to his swamp to find her, though she is nowhere to be found. Shrek is then captured by Rumpelstiltskin's Witches, and when he awakens in a carriage pulled by Donkey, Donkey doesn't know who he is. Shrek then brought to Rumpelstiltskin, confronting him over the deal, and escapes with Donkey. Donkey initially is terrified of Shrek but learns to trust him after seeing him cry. When Donkey smells waffles in the forest, Shrek warns him, but Donkey ignores Shrek's warnings and licks the waffle, and falls into a hole. Shrek follows him and ends up in the Ogre Resistance. Shrek fights with Cookie to get Donkey back until Fiona arrives. Shrek runs to her, but Fiona kicks him in the face. Shrek then tries to explain, believing their relationship is still existent, but Fiona believes he is crazy and laughs at him. Shrek then meets an overweight Puss In Boots and tries to explain the situation, but Fiona arrives. Shrek tries to kiss her, but she pulls back, and Shrek leaves her tent. Shrek later tries a different approach to Fiona, arriving when she is fighting fake wooden witches. Fiona thinks he is getting killed in the ambush, and Shrek that he'll be fine, but Fiona tries to prove him wrong by playfully fighting him. Puss In Boots, watching them, realizes that Shrek is Fiona's true love, though he decides that he should wait until Fiona realizes this herself. Puss In Boots talks to Shrek about this, where Shrek reveals to Puss that he knows that he is Fiona's true love, and is trying to prove it to her. Puss advises him to tell her when she is alone something only her true love will know. Shrek tries during the ambush, telling Fiona everything about her, and inadvertently letting the Pied Piper to control the ogres, including themselves. Puss and Donkey come to their rescue, and they fall into a river. Fiona leaves to save her friends, but Shrek insists she kisses him, saying it will fix everything, but since Fiona doesn't truly love yet, it proves ineffective. Fiona then rushes to save her friends, and Shrek mourns for his life, after which Donkey asks that "if [his] life was so perfect, then why did [he] sign it away to Rumpelstiltskin in the first place", where Shrek shouts that he didn't know what he had until it was gone. Rumpelstiltskin, desperate to capture Shrek, promises the deal of a lifetime to whoever can turn Shrek in. Shrek then turns himself in, telling Rumpelstiltskin that since he turned himself in, he gets the deal of a lifetime. Rumpelstiltskin panics, believing Shrek intends to use to get his old life back, but Shrek instead uses it to free all ogres. However, he has kept Fiona, since she is not "all ogre", meaning she is a princess by day. Meanwhile, the ogres, Puss and Donkey stay behind the castle, and Donkey mentions that "he and Shrek busted out of that place". The Brogan asks how Donkey replies that it is the same way they're going to bust in. Rumpelstiltskin then tries to feed Shrek and Fiona to Dragon, thereby destroying any chance of the contract being voided, However, the ogres (who were hidden in the ball) raid the castle. Meanwhile, by helping each other, Shrek and Fiona subdue Dragon and capture Rumpelstiltskin. As the sun rises, Shrek starts to fade from existence. However, Fiona, who now loves him, kisses him the second before he disappears. Puss then notices Fiona is still in her ogre form, proving the kiss did work, contrary to appearances, and reality is restored to just before Shrek originally lashed out at everyone. This time, when Fiona asks him if he is alright, he hugs Fiona and tells her that he's never been better. The film ends as Shrek tells Fiona she is the one who rescued him when they met, and Shrek puts the book on the shelf and joins his friends in a celebration, which ends the film, as every character is making mud angels. He also appears in the clips from the Shrek films in the end credits.
Shrek is a rather complex character. Towards others, he can be grouchy, crass and hostile. He has been the scorn of multiple prejudices and revulsion because of his ogre background and generally appears thick-skinned to others but behind his terrifying demeanor, he possesses his own insecurities and fears. He shuts everyone out and isolates himself as he knows how judgemental the world is towards ogres and how people judge him on his appearance alone. This all has become less so since the end of the first movie. Despite usually being cranky, sarcastic, grouchy, and sometimes stubborn, he is a very lovable character. He is very devoted, caring, and loving towards his wife and is protective of his friends and kids.
- In the Tagalized version, he was voiced by Joey DE Leon. Chris Farley was the original voice of Shrek and even recorded his lines, but died having completed about 80% or 90% of his lines (or 95% according to his brother, Tom). After his death, the voice was given to Mike Myers. Other actors that were suggested were Bill Murray and Robin Williams. *
- In the video games, Shrek appeared as an unlockable player in Tony Hawk's Underground 2 and as a playable character in both Madagascar Kartz and DreamWorks Super Star Kartz. *During the baby nightmare that Shrek had, he was seen at a graduation ceremony wearing nothing but a graduation cap and a crowd of babies laugh at him when he sees himself completely naked.
- It is questionable as to why Shrek was actually surprised when he saw Fiona turn into an ogress, considering the fact he'd read the book about Fiona at the beginning of the movie. Also, he said Harold and Lillian had voluntarily locked Fiona in the tower, despite the book saying that the Fairy Godmother had forced them to. The only thing he was known to have taken account of from the book was the place Fiona was locked away. *It is said that Shrek's appearance was inspired by a french professional wrestling in the late 1930's through the early 50's named Maurice Tillet AKA 'The French Angel' .
- On May 21, 2010, the same day that Shrek Forever After was released in theaters, Shrek received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This made him the eleventh animated character to receive this honor (two other characters would later receive a star). Shrek's star is located at 6931 Hollywood Blvd.
- Shrek is shown to have an evil side, as he often gets irritated with somebody and jokes about doing something cruel to them, but after he says he was just kidding he says "Still..." (Shrek, Shrek the Third).
- Despite not appearing in the film, Shrek and Donkey are featured in the new Kung Fu Panda 3 commercial that spoofs the recent Snickers advertisements. However, Monkey and Po aren't just themselves when they are hungry. This delightful tease gives us a few jokes, but we don't get to see much more from the actual film itself.
- Shrek can be spotted as General Monger's medal of order on his right chest in one of the scenes in Monsters vs. Aliens. However, in one of the scenes, you can probably assume that Shrek is the general's real favorite monster. *Shrek makes a cameo as a plush in the 2014 direct-to-video CGI animated short Rocky and Bullwinkle.