March 15, 15
Advanced English: The Hero
The Lion King - Hero’s Journey
The classic hero’s journey can be seen all around society. The journey is seen in our favorite movies, comic strips, and even in our peers. Even though the hero’s journey follows the same ten steps and could get quite boring and overworked, directors and authors still find a way to pull society back in. Two directors that did just that were Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers, who directed one of the most popular Disney animated musicals, the 1994 Disney film The Lion King. The classic film follows the journey of Simba, a young lion cub in Africa, on his path to adulthood and acceptance of his royal destiny. In the movie, we see Simba’s happy childhood turn tragic due to the plotted death of his father by his evil uncle Scar, who drives Simba away from the kingdom. We follow the journey of his growth outside the kingdom, with the help of his spiritual guides, which will lead him to the defeat of Scar and the return to the throne of the Pride Lands. The steps of the hero’s journey will help us follow the transformation of Simba from lion cub to king by seeing him mature and realize his need to fulfill his destiny.
In the majority of society’s favorite heroic movies, the hero doesn’t come from a typical family or live a typical lifestyle. The hero, usually, comes out some form of hardship in childhood that plays a factor to plot line of the journey. This dramatic event could be, for example, being an orphan, having a traumatic birth, or being royal. In the case of The Lion King, Simba is born into royalty. This aspect of his life makes him different than the average man, or animal in this case. Simba learns from his father what it means to be a king in the Pride Lands, the name of the kingdom which this story takes place. Simba soon grows a little too eager to learn about his future causing him to be too ambitious about becoming king of the Pride Lands. The fact that Simba would do just about anything to turn his dreams into reality is a weakness that soon puts him in some sticky situations. Scar is the cause to the second aspect of Simba’s unusual birth or childhood. Scar lures Simba into a gorge and leaves him there pretending to go get Simba’s father, Mufasa. Instead of going to get Mufasa, Scar, with the help of the hyenas, starts a stampede, of wildebeest in the gorge. This action leads to the death of Mufasa. Both of these events in the film show Simba’s unusual background as a child who has lost his father and the kingdom has lost a beloved king. Simba’s deceased father will influence Simba’s life and lead towards his journey to adulthood and path to become king.
With the death of his father, Simba is faced with two choices: to stay and help the kingdom or to run. This situation that Scar puts him is a key factor in any hero’s journey. Accepting our call to action, and accepting our fate, or refusing the action is a common question that us as ordinary humans face throughout our lives. In the case of Simba, Scar heavily influences him to run and reject his call to action. During the scene Scar says, “Run. Run away, and never return.” Simba then leaves the kingdom, and soon meets two characters that help guide him into adulthood and teach him some very valuable life lessons.
In every superhero movie the hero has a sidekick, a mentor, or a spiritual guide. A hero can’t always achieve everything on their own and need help along the way in order to achieve their goals. In The Lion King, Simba has multiple spirit guides and mentors throughout the film. The first mentor that the viewer encounters is his father, Mufasa. Mufasa teaches Simba about the life of being king and the responsibilities that it holds. Even though Mufasa passes away, he still returns as a mentor to Simba. He reassures Simba that he will always with him and to remember whom he is. Two other mentors that Simba encounters are a warthog...
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