From noble steed to annoying best friend, Donkey fulfills many roles in the Shrek franchise. Here are some memes that sum him up!
Despite being released over 21 years ago, Shrek remains a large part of pop culture even today, with many fans eagerly awaiting the rumored fifth installment of the series.
What makes the first film so unforgettable – along with its endearing message, soundtrack, and ample meme content – are its distinct and lovable characters, particularly Shrek's trusty sidekick and best friend, Donkey. From his annoying yet relatable personality to always seeing the best in Shrek, Donkey is a large part of what makes Shrek so relevant and beloved to this day, as proven by these memes.
Although Shrek initially finds Donkey to be annoying and irritatingly persistent, his personality actually has many traits that make him the most relatable character not only in Shrek, but in most fictional characters.
Donkey's quirky mannerisms reflect the best, most open parts of viewers on-screen, and this association with the character easily makes him a fan favorite as he encapsulates what it means to be unabashedly oneself.
Donkey is seen by many of Shrek's main characters as the annoyingly optimistic and talkative one in the group, with many characters even stating so throughout the franchise.
However, Donkey has many great and redeeming qualities, and he is so much more than the talking donkey everyone makes him out to be, especially to Dragon, who sees him as the kind, non-judgemental, and beautiful Donkey he really is. To her, Donkey is the most handsome being out there, and that was down to his lovable charm.
Although Shrek gives Donkey a hard time throughout the franchise, the truth is he would be nowhere without Donkey. Literally, Shrek would have been gone, possibly killed by Farquaad's men, Fiona would have been sent back to the tower, and then the film would not have become an instant classic of the 2000s.
Donkey's rambling and impulsive decisions help the gang get out of many tricky scenarios throughout the series. But it was his found relationship with Dragon that ultimately saved Shrek and Fiona and leading to the rest of the series.
Not only does this meme prove the ongoing relevance of and love for Shrek, one of the best-animated fantasy movies, but it also establishes Donkey as an equal fan of Shrek as the entire fandom.
Given his refusal to give up on Shrek, his constant attempts to break down Shrek's wall, and him being Shrek's biggest believer and supporter, Donkey is undoubtedly the biggest Shrek fanboy and inadvertently a large part of why the Shrek era never seems to cease.
Part of Donkey's charm is his sheer optimism, love for life, and the way he feels his emotions openly and without a care for the opinions of others. Characters may find this irritating, but there's no question viewers find it endearing.
His excitability is portrayed hilariously in this Reddit meme which, besides the subtle jab at geologists, is an accurate depiction of Donkey's peppy and shining personality, which offers the perfect balance for Shrek's outward cynicism.
Even though Shrek constantly complains about Donkey and rolls his eyes at basically anything the talking animal says, he still loves him and considers him his very best friend. After all, Donkey was the first being to try and actively befriend Shrek, despite all of his abrasiveness and outward appearance.
His ability to get close to Shrek, and in turn have the ogre reciprocate his affection, speaks volumes about Donkey's character and good heart, traits that help make him a Shrek character that could carry a spin-off.
Dragon and Donkey go on to form one of the top relationships in Shrek, especially once they are revealed to be parents at the end of Shrek 2.
Donkey's relationship with Dragon forms a large part of his arc within the franchise, defining part of who he is and showing him to be a kind and gentle creature that sees Dragon for more than her hard edges. Unlike most characters who have very different relationships with Dragons, Donkey is a Dragon lover.
A defining trait of Donkey's character is his refusal to say no and pick up on Shrek's social cues in regard to boundaries, especially in the early stages of their friendship where there were many times fans felt bad for Shrek.
Most of the first film sees him inserting himself into Shrek's swamp, determined to become Shrek's swamp-mate despite the former's insistence that he wants to be left alone. While this worked out in the end, it really showed how annoyingly persistent and overbearing the beloved Donkey could be.
Despite being Shrek's loyal sidekick, Donkey has many qualities that would make him a perfect main character, one comparable to the mischievous yet talented Alvin from Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Not only does Donkey have the swag and charisma to lead his own pack of critters, but like Alvin, he is a wise-cracking go-getter with a great sense of humor. Not to mention the amazing vocal talents that add to his lovable persona.
Next: One Quote From Each Shrek Character That Perfectly Sums Up Their Personality
Recently having completed a BA in Comparative Literature, Ashvaria is a literature and media nerd – particularly when it comes to anything pop culture! Being an advocate for diversity & inclusion, she is especially interested in how works depict and treat minority characters. Her personal favorite topics include anything pertaining to Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga, Glee, the MCU and, of course, the original cinematic masterpiece: Shrek.