Shrek is the titular protagonist of the Shrek film franchise. He is a green-skinned ogre of imposing stature and speaks with a Scottish accent. Though he has been regarded with fear and loathing by other people due to his appearance, Shrek is by no means the ferocious beast that others expect him to be; he is a peaceful individual, though the negative reactions he gets from others have instilled a misanthropic outlook on life, leading to him living in isolation for much of his life. This all changes after he meets Donkey and together they rescue Princess Fiona from a dragon's keep. Following this adventure, Shrek finds love in Fiona and slowly becomes accepted by the world outside his swamp.


Pre-film history

According to Shrek: The Musical, Shrek lived with his parents until his seventh birthday. Before this time, he was supposedly living under threat of being eaten by his father; he claims to Donkey in Shrek the Third that his father used to bathe him in barbecue sauce and put him to bed with an apple in his mouth. When he turned 7 years old, Shrek left home according to ogre tradition. He travelled alone for some time and found himself scorned by passers-by everywhere he went. After scaring away an angry mob, he walks into an outhouse and then emerges as his adult self.

Shrek (2001)

Shrek angryshrek

Shrek lives alone in the swamp in the middle of a forest, living peacefully with the exception of scaring away mobs of people who are hunting him down. In all cases, the villagers are hunting Shrek for no reason other than he is an ogre, not because he has done anything wrong. One day, Shrek encounters a group of soldiers from Duloc who are rounding up various fairy-tale creatures for exile. He interferes and inadvertently rescues a talking donkey who immediately befriends him. Shrek wants nothing to do with Donkey, but after being begged incessantly, he allows Donkey to stay in the swamp for the night.

That night, Shrek awakens to find a large group of fairy-tale squatters taking up residence in the swamp after being forced there by Lord Farquaad, the ruler of Duloc. Shrek decides to pay Farquaad a visit and so he and Donkey head for Duloc, but when they arrive Farquaad commands his knights to kill Shrek. The knights attack, but Shrek defeats them all easily. Naming Shrek as his "champion", Farquaad requests that Shrek go on a quest for him: to rescue Princess Fiona from a dragon's keep. In exchange, Farquaad promises to remove the squatters from Shrek's swamp.


Shrek and Donkey succeed in saving Fiona, though the princess is less than enthused that her saviour is an ogre rather than the prince she always imagined would come for her. Regardless, the trio proceed on their way back to Duloc, though they stop at night at Fiona's urging. Over time, Shrek and Fiona seem to develop a rapport and Shrek comes to realise that he's falling for the princess. One night, however, he partially overhears Fiona and Donkey talking about him in a solitary barn and believes he hears Fiona referring to him as an ugly beast. What he doesn't hear is that Fiona is cursed to transform into an ogre at night and she was referring to herself as ugly.

The following morning, Lord Farquaad arrives to take Fiona back to Duloc and Fiona and Shrek part on bad terms due to Shrek's misunderstanding. However, Donkey follows Shrek home to his swamp and the two argue about Shrek's treatment of Fiona and Donkey himself. The two eventually reconcile after Donkey reveals that Shrek misunderstood Fiona's words the previous night and the pair decide to crash Fiona and Farquaad's wedding which is taking place that afternoon. Donkey calls upon Dragon (who is infatuated with him) and they fly to Duloc where Shrek bursts into the chapel to stop the wedding. Shrek reveals his true feelings to Fiona and tells her that Farquaad only wants to marry her to legally gain the title of "king". It is then that the sun sets and Fiona turns into her ogre form in front of everyone. Farquaad is disgusted by Fiona's transformation and demands that she and Shrek be locked away, but suddenly Dragon crashes into the chapel and swallows Farquaad whole.


After admitting his love to her, Shrek kisses Fiona and lifts the spell from her. Of course, since her true love is an ogre, she remains in her ogre form permanently from then on. The two later return to the swamp where they marry and afterwards go on their honeymoon in an onion carriage.

Shrek 2

After returning home from their honeymoon, Shrek and Fiona were greeted by messengers sent by Fiona's parents: King Harold and Queen Lillian of the land Far, Far Away. The king and queen had invited the newlyweds to their castle so that Fiona could re-connect with her parents and they could meet Fiona's true love. When Shrek and Fiona arrived, however, they were given a less-than-warm welcome. Harold and Lillian had expected their daughter to come home as a human and were shocked to find that both she and her husband were ogres.

While Lillian tried to be accepting of Shrek, Harold wouldn't have it, and he wasn't the only one. The Fairy Godmother had previously made a deal with Harold and the two had arranged for Fiona to be wed to the Godmother's son, Prince Charming. Seeing Fiona return home along with Shrek had upset her plans and she demanded that Harold find away to resolve the matter. And so Harold later told Shrek that he wished to apologize for his earlier rude behaviour and invited the ogre to go hunting with him the next day. However, that night, he met with the mercenary Puss in Boots and paid him handsomely to assassinate Shrek.


The next day, Shrek and Donkey go to meet with Harold in the forest and find themselves attacked by Puss. Shrek manages to overpower Puss and the foil-wielding cat admits that he was hired by the king to kill Shrek. Shrek recalls when he and Fiona were met by the Fairy Godmother the previous night who had left them her card, and so he and Donkey headed to her cottage with Puss in tow.

When the trio arrive at the Fairy Godmother's Cottage, they meet with the Godmother who flat-out refuses to help Shrek, stating that "Ogres don't live happily ever after". Instead, Shrek ad friends resort to raiding the Godmother's potion cabinet and steal a "Happily Ever After" potion. After getting away from the factory, Shrek and Donkey both sample the magical potion but it does not appear to have any effect on them. A storm brews up and the trio decide to take shelter in an abandoned shed for the night.

Human shrek

Shrek in human form

When Shrek awakens the next morning, he finds himself surrounded by three beautiful women. He sees his reflection in a bucket of water and is shocked to find that he has turned into a human, and an attractive one at that. Donkey is also transformed, having turned into a magnificent white stallion. Shrek, Donkey and Puss look over the empty potion bottle and read that the potion also affects the drinker's "true love", meaning that Fiona will have been turned back to her human form. The label on the bottle also states that the potion's effects become permanent when the drinker kisses their true love by midnight.

Shrek, Donkey and Puss later return to the castle, but when Shrek hears Fiona scream, he rushes to her room only to be locked inside with the Fairy Godmother. The manipulative Godmother points to the window and Shrek looks out to find Fiona talking to Prince Charming, who is pretending to be the transformed Shrek (though Shrek does not hear this). The Godmother tells Shrek that if he truly loves Fiona, he will let her go and be happy with another man.

Later, Shrek, Donkey and Puss visit the tavern, but while they are there they spot King Harold in disguise sneaking into the back room where he meets with the Fairy Godmother. The trio overhear that the Godmother has been blackmailing Harold and wants Fiona and Charming to marry so that Charming will have a claim to the throne. Unfortunately, the Godmother spots Shrek listening in on her and arranges for the royal guard to arrest him, Puss and Donkey.

Shrek's arrest is caught on camera and televised, and his friends and housesitters GingyPinocchio, the Three Blind Mice and Three Little Pigs are at Shrek's house when they see the event through the Magic Mirror. The gang venture to Far, Far Away to bust Shrek out, after which they visit the Muffin Man on Drury Lane who bakes a giant gingerbread man called Mongo which Shrek and the others use to storm Harold's castle where a ball is taking place.

Shrek and Donkey get into the castle where they confront the Fairy Godmother and Prince Charming. Shrek is shocked to see Charming kiss Fiona, believing her to have been slipped a love potion. However, Harold had gone back on his deal with the Godmother and did not spike Fiona's tea with the potion, so she did not fall in love with Charming and knocked him out after he kissed her. The Godmother became enraged and fired a bolt of magic from her wand Shrek, but King Harold jumped in front of Shrek and took the blast. The spell was reflected off of Harold's armoured breastplate and struck the Godmother, disintegrating her. Harold, fortunately, was not killed by the Godmother's spell, and had been merely turned into a frog (which it turned out he had originally been before the Fairy Godmother had made him human years ago).

Shrek and Fiona embraced just as the clock approached midnight. Shrek asked Fiona if she wanted to stay human, but Fiona preferred to be with the ogre that she had originally fallen in love with. The two waited till after midnight when they turned back to their ogre forms before kissing each other.

Shrek the Third

Shrek and Fiona take on the responsibilities as King and Queen of Far, Far Away 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 out to search for Arthur when upon their leave, Fiona tells Shrek that she is pregnant. Shrek becomes terrified by the notion of being a parent, experiencing nightmares about being over-burdened looking after many ogre babies. 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.

Shrek first finds Artie at his high school, where everyone was bullying him. Shrek tries to make Artie come back with him to Far Far Away, but Artie becomes uneasy by Puss and Donkey's bantering of the royal duties that await him. After being ship-wrecked, 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 an understanding with Artie since he too had issues with his own father. In the morning, Shrek defeats Captain Hook and the other fairy-tale villains sent by Prince Charming, then with Merlin's help, returns to Far Far Away.

Shrek family

When Artie's life was threatened by Charming, Shrek boldly insulted the boy, stating that he needed a patsy loser to fill the royal job. Shrek becomes disenchanted over hurting Artie's feelings, but keeps his sense of humour until his friends come to the rescue with Artie talking the villains into reforming themselves. 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 he makes mistakes, proves to be a great father.

Shrek Forever After

Shrek has grown tired of being a domesticated family man and celebrity among the local villagers, leading him to yearn for the days when he felt like a "real ogre." It is his children's birthday party where lots of fictional characters appear. Shrek gets easily annoyed here as the 3 Little Pigs eat the children's cake up and a little kid called Butterpants keeps wanting him to do his infamous roar. After lashing out at his family and friends during the party, Shrek storms off and meets with Rumpelstiltskin, who offers to give Shrek a day to live like a real ogre again in exchange for a day from his past he wouldn't remember being erased. Shrek agrees and signs the contract, and abruptly lands in a world where he is still feared by villagers. He enjoys causing mischief until he finds wanted posters for the ogress Fiona and his home deserted. He is suddenly captured by witches and taken to Rumpelstiltskin, who is now the king of Far Far Away and uses ogres for slave labour.

Shrek realises that the day Rumpelstiltskin erased was the day he was born, meaning he never existed in this world before and is unrecognized by everyone he knows. Furthermore, when the day ends, Shrek will fade from existence. Shrek escapes Rumpelstiltskin's castle with the enslaved Donkey who, initially terrified of Shrek, sympathizes with his situation and reveals that the only way to render his contract null and void is through "true love's kiss." Donkey sees some waffles and is tempted to eat them but Shrek says no. Donkey accidentally dribbles on them and is cast down a hole with Shrek running after him. After speaking to many ogres who seem to live down the hole, they find Fiona who, still cursed after escaping from the tower where she was held captive, is the leader of an ogre resistance against Rumpelstiltskin and keeps the retired and overweight Puss in Boots as a pet.

Shrek does everything he can to gain Fiona's love, but she is too busy preparing an ambush on Rumpelstiltskin during his nightly ogre hunt. However, the ogres are caught in a trap instead and captured. Shrek insists Fiona kiss him, saying it will fix everything, but because Fiona doesn't love him, it is ineffective. Upon hearing that Rumpelstiltskin is offering anything desired by the one who captures Shrek with no strings attached, Shrek turns himself in in exchange for all ogres being released, but Fiona remains in custody because she is only an ogre by night due to her curse. Shrek and Fiona are set to be fed to Dragon, but Donkey, Puss and the ogres raid Rumpelstiltskin's castle, allowing Shrek and Fiona to subdue both Dragon and Rumpelstiltskin.

As the sun rises, Shrek begins to fade from existence, but Fiona, having fallen in love with him all over again, kisses him just before he disappears completely, which nullifies the contract and restores Shrek to his world just before he originally lashed out at everyone. Shrek embraces his friends and family with new-found appreciation for everything he has, truly living happily forever after.


For the most part, Shrek is a lonesome, grumpy ogre who generally dislikes the outside world. This is largely due to his being judged harshly by other people who fear and hate him simply for being an ogre and has led Shrek to distancing himself from others. To those that know him well, Shrek does have a softer side which has steadily become more apparent since his marriage to Fiona. He loves Fiona dearly as well as their children and gets along well with several of the fairy-tale folk that once squatted in his swamp. His best friend is Donkey, though he gets easily annoyed by Donkey's various quirks and near-constant chatter.

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