Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Lion King is NOT Hamlet

Okay, so I know that it is generally accepted into our society that the Lion King is Hamlet but with Lions because of various internet ploys and whatnot and since it was spread around on the internet it must be true right???? WRONG. While yes there are a number of similarities between the Lion King and Hamlet, there are also a lot of similarities in all revenge plays too. To go back to Iris's post from last week, other than character correlation - which is extremely controversial as far as which characters would "represent" others since not every character has a correlated one (for example when Iris sited that Timon and Pumba represent Horratio, while most research that I have done compare them to Rosencratz and Guildenstern who we haven't met yet). But this isn't the main thing I would like to bring up, the "similarities" between these two things really aren't that impressive. To recap, the main similarities Iris pointed out are that: 1) Dead dads, 2) Evil usurping uncles 3) ghosts 4) angry protagonist 5) prince fights uncle 6) protagonist in a great moral struggle 7) protagonist mad about treatment of mother.

1) A father or other parent dying is common to like every Disney movie ever
2) Fratricide isn't common to Shakespeare in the least bit, in fact, there have been a lot of kings that were murdered by someone else so that they could take power, and brotherly murder sadly wasn't uncommon, especially with primogeniture going on. Shakespeare didn't invent this concept at all.
3) There are ghosts; however, but the ghost tells Simba to remember who he is, not avenge my death. One could argue that yeah, he is kinda implying it, and Disney can't say murder people. But in my opinion, Mufasa just kinda comes down and says Simba, get your act together, your uncle screwed everything up.
4) Angry protagonist... really? is this a valid argument? like lots of protagonists are really angry
5) Prince fights uncle: I'd say this is more or less common of a lot of revenge plays: they involve a secret murder, a descent into madness, and a violent conclusion. So this fight is fairly common.
6) All protagonists are in a great moral struggle often
7) Simba is more mad about Nala than his mom

So while yes, there are a lot of similarities, I think it isn't fair to say that they're the EXACT same, but with lions. But Disney probably did rip it off of kimba.

3 comments:

Ross said...

Personally I never like to discuss how children's films are related to other works or ideas. I mean, why can't Finding Nemo just be Finding Nemo? Since you have brought the topic of The Lion King up, however, I am inclined to respond. I want to say that I totally agree with you when you said that The Lion King is not a direct reflection of Hamlet, and simply has some similarities. This may seem strange since the creators of the film have said that the movie was influenced by Hamlet and I think that the reason it is nota direct representation is because of the two other stories that inspired it: the stories of Joseph and Moses from the Bible. BAM, and just like that religion comes into play! Just as a quick refresher: Joseph is cast out by his brothers and later becomes very close to a political leader, and then gets back at his brothers. As for Moses, well we all know of Moses. Anyway, some of SImba's actions in The Lion King may seem un-Hamlet-like and the movie may not truly represent Shakespeare's work, but that is only because the movie is an amalgamation of Hamlet's, Joseph's, and Moses' stories combined.

Bonnie Cash said...

I agree with you, Alex. In fact, I was thinking about this in class when we brought up The Lion King. The Lion King is one of my favorite movies, and I have also noticed many differences:
1) Simba was made to believe it was his fault Mufasa died. Hamlet; however, wasn't led to believe it was his fault the King died
2) While Simba is persuaded to flee his city, making Scar (his uncle) the king. Hamlet stays, and Claudius is strangely the King of Denmark.
3) Like Alex said, Simba is more mad at Nala than his mom. Hamlet is more mad at Guenivere than Ophelia.

There are many more, but I did want to point out that Hamlet's dad says "Remember me" when he appears as a ghost. When Mufasa visits Simba in the clouds as a spirit, he says "Remember who you are" and I think that has a similar connotation. Remember who you are and who we are, and take revenge and do what is right. That's similar to "Remember me".

Iris Mire said...

While I agree with Alex's points, I would like to point out that I never personally claimed that the two were exactly the same. I admitted that there were differences. However, it is on record that Hamlet served as an influence for both Kimba and The Lion King. There's no disputing that the influence is there.

Also, just while I'm ranting, can we stop to appreciate how often Western artists hijack the ideas and work of Eastern artists (especially the Japanese) and pretend that it's their own original work. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games will never be anything other that a babyfied Battle Royale.