Essay on the revenge tragedy present in both The Lion King and Hamlet - similarities and differences

Essay by bortlanHigh School, 12th grade May 2005

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Hamlet and The Lion King: Shakespearean Influences on Modern Entertainment

There is no doubt that today's entertainment has lost most of its touch with the more classical influences of its predecessors. However, in mid-1994, Walt Disney Pictures released what could arguably be the best-animated feature of all time in The Lion King. With a moral base unlike most of the movies released at the time, TLK placed a children's facade on a very serious story of responsibility and revenge. However, this theme is one of the oldest in history, and it is not the least apparent in one of the oldest works of literature by The Bard himself, William Shakespeare. The work that Disney's TLK parallels is none other than Hamlet: Prince of Denmark, and the film shadows this work so closely, that parallels between the main characters themselves are wildly apparent. This very close comparison has led critics "to compare the movie to Hamlet in the importance of its themes" (Schwalm 1).

But with a closer inspection of the characters themselves do we see just how apparent these similarities are.

In The Lion King, a cub named Simba, whose naivete procures him more than his fair share of hardships and troubles, plays the role of the young prince whose father is murdered. By the acts in the story alone, one can see that Simba is a direct representation of Shakespeare's Hamlet Jr., but not only that, each of them shares similar actions in the play. Interpretations if Simba's actions are as profound as Hamlet's, particularly of why Hamlet delayed in exacting vengeance for his father's death (Harrison 236). Both Simba and Hamlet Jr. "delay" their action of retribution for their respective father's deaths. The loss of their paternal companion leaves Hamlet incredibly melancholy, and Simba without a royal teacher...



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