The Compare and Contrast of Disney's Lion King and Shakespeare's Hamlet
English and Literature
Submitted By Snowboard8058
William Shakespeare's Hamlet is without question the most famous play in the English language. Hamlet is a play about a character's struggles with the opposing forces of moral integrity and the need to avenge his father's murder. Disney's The Lion King is an award winning film about a young lion cub named Simba, and his struggles against himself and reality. The movie, The Lion King, and the book, Hamlet, both have a similar story line. Shakespeare's Hamlet and Disney's The Lion King have similar occurrences such as, the king is killed and revenge is sought by the king's son, the murderers are the king's brothers who want the power of the throne, and many others; but each story is also unique in their own ways.
Throughout Hamlet and The Lion King numerous examples link both of these stories together. The first example of comparing Shakespeare's Hamlet to Disney's The Lion King is in both stories the king is killed and revenge is sought by the king's son. The murderers in the stories are both the king's brothers who want the power of the throne. In Hamlet, Claudius is the murder of King Hamlet and in the movie The Lion King Scar is the murderer of Mufasa. After the death of the kings, both of the villains successfully took over the kingdoms.
Another example that compares both of these stories together is that neither of the princes, Hamlet and Simba, liked the villains. In addition, they did not know at first that they had anything to do with their father's death. It took an outside force to convince them that they must vow revenge for their father's death. The outside force in Hamlet was the ghost that appeared to him and told him that Claudius has poisoned his father.
This is easy for Hamlet to believe because he doesn't like Claudius. And the outside in Disney's The Lion King was ironically Scar who told him that he killed his father. This is ironic because the murderer is the one who told Simba who killed his father. Also both of the princes had to approach revenge strategically. They wanted the villains to know that they knew about how their fathers were murdered.
The third example that compares Shakespeare's Hamlet with Disney's The Lion King is in both stories a ghost appears to tell Hamlet and Simba about returning to their home and to claim the throne for themselves by killing their uncles. In Hamlet the ghost appears to Hamlet and tells him, "Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder" (pg. 202, lines 25-26). On the other hand, when Simba has already run away, he is confronted by a big cloud that takes the form of his father. This cloud speaks to him and says, "Remember who you are, you are my son and the true king. Return to the Pride Lands and claim your throne" (The Lion King). These two quotes signify that Hamlet and Simba need to seek revenge upon their uncles and they need to claim the throne for themselves.
The last example that compares Shakespeare's Hamlet with Disney's The Lion King is that in both stories the villains use other characters to watch over Hamlet and Simba. For instance, in Hamlet the king uses Polonius, his friend and the old king's councilor to help keep an eye on Hamlet. The purpose of Polonius is for him to try and confuse Hamlet and to try to keep him from finding out any information about his father's death. In Disney's The Lion King, as soon as Scar takes over as king of the Pride Lands, he has three hyenas become his helpers. He uses them to do his work and to keep an eye on Simba. The leading roles in each of the stories had a corresponding role in the other. The corresponding characters shared a number of similarities, but it was the ways in which they were different that determined their fate and that of the kingdom.
The two stories may be alike in many different ways, but Shakespeare's Hamlet and Disney's The Lion King are also very different in many ways. In the play of Hamlet, Hamlet is in deep sadness of his father's death. He is angry because he believes that everyone has already forgotten how great of a king his father was. Hamlet does not know for sure who is responsible for his father's death, but he suspects Claudius. Hamlet decides that if he can convince everyone that he is insane, then maybe he will be able to get someone to tell him more information about his father's murder.
On the other hand, in Disney's The Lion King, Simba's father is killed after he falls from a cliff into a herd of antelope. Simba falls into a deep depression after Scar twists things around and convinces Simba that he is the one responsible for Mufasa's death. Simba can not deal with what has happened and Simba exiles himself where he meets a warthog and meerkat, named Timon and Pumbaa, and develops a carefree lifestyle with them. Later on in the story, as an adult, Simba returns to the Pride Lands to reclaim the throne from Scar.
The last example that shows a difference between the two stories is the endings. The ending in Hamlet is a tragedy. Everyone at the end of the story dies because of getting poisoned or by getting stabbed in the duel, except for Horatio. The story ends with Hamlet's body being given a military burial, and this is shown through the following text, "Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage; for he was likely, had he been put on, to have proved most royal: and, for his passage, the soldiers' music and the rites of war speak loudly for him" (pg. 263, lines 407-411). Also Hamlet tells Horatio to let Fortinbras know that he will be the next King of Denmark, and this is shown by the following, "But I do prophesy the election light on Fortinbras" (pg. 262, lines 366-367).