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In Shrek there is a scene in which Shrek gets shot in the butt with an arrow. To distract Donkey, Fiona sends Donkey into the woods to find a blue flower with red thorns. Donkey exclaims that it would be easier to do if he wasn't colorblind.

Are all donkeys colorblind in Shrek, or just Donkey specifically?

enter image description here

  • 1
    Is there any reason not to take him at his word? Or are you asking if donkeys are generally colourblind? – Jason Baker Oct 19 '15 at 14:46
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    @JasonBaker i guess its specificly if Donkey is colorblind, or if donkeys are colorblind – Himarm Oct 19 '15 at 14:47
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    A quick Google leads me to believe all donkeys are colorblind. But I am confused by the question. He says he is colorblind in your screenshot. That kind of answers the question, doesn't it? Also, to your edit, humans as a species are not colorblind, but some humans are colorblind. Not such a stretch to think that even if donkeys as a species are not colorblind, that some could be. – Dave Johnson Oct 19 '15 at 14:49
  • @DaveJohnson and un-reference answers.com question says their colorblind. however, they most likely do see in color, if limited – Himarm Oct 19 '15 at 14:52
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    i'm pretty sure they were going for the rule of funny. any production error was negligible/ignorable. – phantom42 Oct 19 '15 at 14:53
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Donkey openly states that he's colour-blind, then, in the same scene has great difficulty in distinguishing distinctively coloured flowers as he walks past them. As far as can be seen, there's no reason to assume that he's lying, nor that he is mistaken.

Since he's the only donkey in the film (the only other donkeys are dragon/donkey hybrids) there's no indication of whether this colour-blindness is common to all donkeys in the Shrek universe.

It may interest you to know that in the real world, Donkeys (and other equines) are not actually colour-blind but do have very poor colour vision, which is likely where the production team got the idea from.

  • ive updated the question slightly if it maters >< – Himarm Oct 19 '15 at 14:51
  • @Himarm - I've taken that into account. – Valorum Oct 19 '15 at 14:55
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    the only other donkeys are dragon/donkey hybrids this leads to some questions we just don't want to ask. – user46509 Oct 19 '15 at 14:58
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    There are a number of forms of color-blindness, including forms where people can see some colors, just not the same range as most of the population. So donkeys do have a form of "color blindness" by human standards, even if they don't see in black and white. – Hypnosifl Oct 19 '15 at 16:34
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    @Plutor - It's very unlikely that Donkey is the only donkey in the Shrek universe, if for no other reason than that everyone immediately recognises that he's a donkey. – Valorum Oct 19 '15 at 19:43
8

First of all, Donkey calls himself color blind. We can assume that he is an expert on the topic, so we have to take his word for it.

The term "color blind" implies that Donkey's vision is somehow deficient from normal members of his species. If so, and he does have some kind of sight problem, then we have no way of knowing how well other donkeys in the fairy-tale world can see.

However, Donkey's inability to find a "blue flower with red thorns" lines up perfectly with how real-world donkeys can see. Donkeys, like all equines, are naturally dichromatic - they only have two-color vision, as opposed to human three-color vision.

Specifically, real-world donkeys have no red color vision -- there's no cell in their eye that is triggered off of specifically red colors. To such an animal, red would merely look like a shade of blue-green somewhere. If a human had this vision, we would called them red-green color-blind.

Thus, Donkey's inability to locate a flower that had "red thorns" very strongly implies that, in human terms, he is effectively color-blind.

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    "The term "color blind" implies that Donkey's vision is somehow deficient from normal members of his species" Not so sure this is true in a movie where animals and people and fantasy creatures are all part of the same society, not to mention that the movie is filled with jokes where characters talk like hip modern people, belying the pseudo-medieval setting. – Hypnosifl Oct 19 '15 at 16:38
  • That was partly my point: from a "real world donkey" point of view, he is probably not "color-blind". From an anthropomorphic human-like Donkey point of view, he probably was, even if his eyesight was as good as any other donkey. – KutuluMike Oct 19 '15 at 17:33
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    Not really sure Donkey is much of an expert on anything, including Donkey... – corsiKa Oct 19 '15 at 19:39
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But he said that Shrek was a big green ogre:

But, uh, I don't have any friends. And I'm not goin' out there by myself. Hey, wait a minute! I got a great idea! I'll stick with you. You're mean, green, fightin' machine. Together we'll scare the spit out of anybody that crosses us.

Mind you Donkey said that so that's a failure.

  • good point, he may have just "known" but could be seeing it – Himarm Sep 22 '16 at 23:11
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    He could be red/blue color blind, or just known ogres were green. – John Meacham Sep 24 '16 at 2:13

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