Rhetoric and Research 110-07
November 6, 2013
Africa’s Own Shakespearean King
Considered one of the most successful animated films of all time, Disney’s The Lion King, was released in 1994 during what is now considered by John Morton, the Disney Renaissance. In The Lion King, a cub named Simba, plays the role of the young prince whose father is murdered, and from there, it shows the rapid maturation from a child to fully a grown beast, to a difference maker, to a king. By the acts in the story alone, one can see that Simba is a direct representation of Shakespeare's Hamlet Jr. Not only that, each of them shares similar actions in the play. Interpretations of Simba's actions are as profound as Hamlet's. The American animated epic musical drama film reincorporates the Danish prince into the African lands to be a part of what will forever be known as the Circle of Life. Today, although intended for completely different audiences, the Protagonist characters of the late twentieth century’s The Lion King and the sixteenth century’s Hamlet can be compared for further insight into themes of revenge, maturity to righteousness, and social status. The list of comparisons between Simba and Hamlet are nearly endless, whether it be their royal positions, relationships with both their father’s and uncles, the few companions they both share, or any aspect of their actions to move along the same general plotline or any of the others. The major thread, however, that is taken from Denmark to Prideland is of “why the prince delayed in exacting vengeance for his father's death” (Harrison). The ghost of Hamlet’s father who informs Hamlet of his uncle’s treachery is matched by Mufasa’s image appearing to a confused and conﬂicted Simba to tell him to assume the throne, which would require the ousting of Uncle Scar. Both Simba and Hamlet Jr. delay their action of reckoning for their respective father's deaths. The loss of their paternal influence leaves...
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