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Transformation of Life


Submitted By merrylace
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The Transformation of Life Throughout the years, Joseph Campbell’s Journey of the Hero has been used as a basic pattern of structure in many literary and motion picture works. Not only does it apply to the lives of ancient Greek heroes, it is also evident in many stories and movies in current popular culture. The Departure, Initiation, and Return stages of the journey cover a period of growth and passage, in which the hero accomplishes a great achievement and gains a new level of awareness and experience. The 1994 animation, The Lion King, demonstrates the use of the traditional journey of the hero in the modern world, as Simba takes on the responsibility to save his kingdom, defeats Scar, his enemy, and eventually restores Pride Rock to its former glory. After living a carefree life in the jungle, Simba is given the burden to reclaim his kingdom with the help of Rafiki, the baboon. During his encounter with Nala, his childhood friend calls him to adventure, convincing him to “take [his] place in the circle of life” (Allers, Minkoff, The Lion King). Simba’s encounter with Nala causes him to acknowledge the world he left behind and take action to save his kingdom from Scar’s oppression. Nala leaves him with the decision whether or not to accept his call to adventure and return to the place he had once escaped. With the help of Rafiki, Simba understands he must face the past and take responsibility to save Pride Rock from further disaster. Rafiki guides Simba to see a reflection of his father in the water, indicating that Mufasa “lives within [him]” (Allers, Minkoff, The Lion King). As supernatural aid, Rafiki acts as a channel for Simba to see his father, who provides him with the encouragement he needs to accept the task at hand. The Mufasa within him helps Simba realize he must stop running from his past and live up to his full potential. By accepting himself with Rafiki’s help, Simba is ready to take on his responsibilities and undertake changes for the achievement of his goal. As Simba enters the barren wasteland of his home, he faces hardships and challenges along the way, but eventually dies to his old self and achieves his ultimate goal. Simba comes face to face with his uncle, Scar, whom he challenges to take over by telling him to “either step down or fight” (Allers, Minkoff, The Lion King). On his road of trials, Scar and the hyenas stand as obstacles for him, testing whether he can serve as a true leader to his kingdom. In order for Simba to prove himself and save his homeland, he must first overcome the challenge and defeat his enemies. During these physical tests, Simba simultaneously undergoes a transformation within himself, allowing him to let go of his old self and become the leader he is meant to be. Simba confronts Scar about his father, and he realizes he “can either run from [his past] or learn from it” (Allers, Minkoff, The Lion King). He no longer feels the need to hold onto the burden of his father’s death. Simba apotheosizes, becoming one with himself to fight for the right of his throne. By overcoming his challenges and letting his old self go, he soon takes his rightful spot as king and transforms the Pride Lands back to its flourishing state. With his new, matured self, Simba uses the knowledge he obtained to rebuild Pride Rock and allows himself to have a fresh start as the acknowledged king. After reclaiming the throne, Simba takes charge in restoring the Pride Lands, allowing the “circle of life” (Allers, Minkoff, The Lion King) to continue. Simba “retains the wisdom gained” (Landis) from his journey and carries the responsibility to protect his land and his people. He crosses the return threshold and becomes at peace with both himself and his kingdom, leading a life free of any worries or cares. While living in “an enchanted moment” (Allers, Minkoff, The Lion King), Simba marries Nala and becomes the father of a newborn cub. Free to live happily in the restored Pride Lands, Simba turns into a courageous full-grown lion and lets go of any anxiety brought on by his father’s death. The kingdom looks up to Simba as the new ruler and anticipates the future the circle of life brings. Simba lives up to his true self as the sovereign one, concluding his journey as a hero to the kingdom of the Pride Lands. Throughout his journey, Simba undergoes a transformation that brings him out of his “Hakuna Matata” (Allers, Minkoff, The Lion King) life of no worries, into a world of utter destruction. After encountering obstacles and tests in the face of his enemies, Simba is able to accomplish the goals he sought to achieve by changing within himself. Through this transformation, Simba realizes and learns the only way for him to succeed is to forget the struggles of the past and focus on the path laid out in front of him. Like the recovery of the circle of life after the restoration of Pride Rock, a change is needed to spark a transformation into a new and fresh world of existence.

Works Cited
Landis, Jennifer. “The Hero’s Journey: Summary of the Steps.” Handout. Arcadia High School.
Arcadia, CA. n.d. Print.
The Lion King. Dir. Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers. Perf. James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan
Taylor Thomas. Walt Disney Pictures, 1994. DVD.

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