Zelda, princess of Hyrule, has proven herself just as strong as her male counterpart, Link, time and time again, making her the perfect example of a YA heroine. She is a character from the video game series named after her, The Legend of Zelda, and ranges from 10-19 in age, depending on which game in the series you are talking about. Her abilities include psychic ability, and knowing how to shoot a bow. She uses her powers to aid Link, although often when he is saving her from being a damsel in distress. Despite being easily kidnapped, Zelda is cunning and unimaginably smart, a wealth of information for Link to look to in his frequent times of need.
Cue Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda released in 1998, introducing a character named Sheik. He was quick and wise, appearing out of nowhere when Zelda was gone. Sheik taught Link special songs that would help him in his journey, and remained a mysterious masked figure, helpful but unknown. At the end of the adventure, it is revealed that Sheik was actually Zelda in disguise the whole time. He had amazing combat ability and agility, but once Zelda is back, she is put back into her classic role. She needs Link’s help, which is unlike her male alter ego. Sheik is able to help himself, where Zelda is oddly not allowed to.
A marxist criticism is one where something is examined as a reflection of social institutions. I am going to examine how The Legend of Zelda reflects social institutions in which women are perceived as lower or less than males. We live in a world in which men and women are often not treated equal, and this is portrayed in The Legend of Zelda, through Zelda’s two identities.
There are stones featured in may of The Legend of Zelda games that assist Link in various ways. In Oc
arina of Time, there is one stone that when you hit it, it says “They say that contrary to her elegant image, Princess Zelda of Hyrule Castle is, in fact, a tomboy.” This is strange to hear from what is assumed as an inanimate object, and even more strange, he
associates her “tomboy-ness” with not able to also be elegant. This
says that we as a society do not connect masculine to something that can also be elegant. This is an interesting phenomenon as The Legend of Zelda also presents the reverse, that feminine and elegant people cannot be masculine and strong.
In Wind Waker, The Legend of Zelda released in 2003, the final boss battle against Ganon features Link with the aid of Zelda. Despite having an alter identity, which is a masculine hero, Zelda is given a bow, with which she uses to help Link land the final ending blow. Yes, she is given the opportunity to show her skill, but she is given minimal ability. This presentation reflects that we often do not accept women when taken out of the roles which our social institutions put them in. Women are not thought of in battle even today, but thought of as something to be protected.
Zelda reflects what our social institutions believe about women and their roles. Using a marxist criticism allows me to understand where these ideas in The Legend of Zelda stems from.