Disney's The Lion King has never represented a story about love, trust and personal growth; rather, the animated film documents the harsh stereotypes present in society. At least, that is what critic Margaret Lazarus would have you believe. Her article "All's Not Well in the Land of The Lion King" argues that the movie employs powerful metaphors to misguide and misinform the young audience, citing that "millions of other children [a]re given hidden messages that can only do them and - us -- harm" (Lazarus 2). Furthermore, Lazarus suggests that Disney purposely uses "bigoted images and attitudes . . . to represent the metaphor for society that originated in the minds of [its] creators" (1). However, her claim lacks strength because children are unable to interpret the sophisticated aspects of the film they cannot come to terms with what homosexuality and racism mean. Although Lazarus presents a thorough analysis, her argument is not structurally sound because she ignores the intended audience for The Lion King, and in doing so, over-analyzes what is meant to be a simple children's movie.
Margaret Lazarus' analysis of Scar and the Hyenas goes far above and beyond a few simple character traits: she uses base observations of coloring, mannerisms, and tone of voice to conclude that "Disney has gays and blacks ruining the natural order" (1). Lazarus observes that the Hyenas are "mostly black," and live in a "dark, gloomy and impoverished elephant graveyard" (2). Her use of words such as "nasty" and "menacing" suggests an already negative attitude towards the Hyenas (Lazarus 2). However bad this description may seem it is correct. The hyenas are in fact "menacing" and gruesome because they are the antagonists, the "bad guys" in the movie. The problem with Lazarus' analysis is that she wrongly assumes that Disney uses these characteristics to represent blacks. Her only real evidence for this assertion comes from the fact that Whoopie Goldberg voices one...
Cited: Lazarus, Margaret. "All 's Not Well in Land of The Lion King." 1-2
The Lion King. Dir. Roger Allers. Perf. Matthew Broderick. Disney, 1994.
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