The Lion King was, and still is, one of Disney’s greatest movies ever made. First released in 1994 it was an instant hit. What many people don’t know though is that it was based off another story written a long time before it. This story is Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As I compare the two stories you will notice many similarities between them. One of the first similarities I noticed between The Lion King and Hamlet was the overall topic of them. They both have a main focus on revenge and responsibility. In The Lion King, Simba wanted revenge on Scar for killing his father, while in Hamlet; Hamlet Jr. anted revenge for his father’s murder as well. When it came to responsibility they were both the same.
Simba was very irresponsible when he would leave the pride lands and Hamlet Jr. was very irresponsible by leaving. Another main similarity between the two stories was Hamlet Sr. and Mufasa. Hamlet Sr. was once the King of Denmark. He would rule his kingdom with peace and prosperity. Similar to this is Mufasa. He was the king of the Pride Lands; he ruled peacefully and only worried about his son and his responsibilities. Another similarity between Mufasa and Hamlet Sr. is how they both became leaders for their sons after their death.
They lead them to get revenge on their uncle and clean up after his mess. They both came to their sons in a type of spirit and is what drove both the sons into action. Also in the message that the fathers told their sons, they let their sons interpret it themselves and didn’t give them exact rules or duties to accomplish. Not only is there a similarity between the good, but there is also similarities between the bad. This similarity is between Scar and Claudius, both the brothers to the king. Both Scar and Claudius killed there brothers to take over the throne and corrupt the kingdom. In Hamlet, Claudius takes ver the kingdom and shows how he enjoys it by throwing parties and marrying his brother’s wife.
In The Lion King, Scar invites all the hyenas to come hunt in the Pride Land and seems to be married to Mufasas former wife Sarabi. As things continue on they both run down their kingdoms and drive them to war. Another similarity between the stories is between Timon and Pumbaa and Hamlets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In the Lion King, Timon and Pumbaa relieve Simba from his past and introduce him to the phrase “Hakuna Matata” which means no worries and that’s the lifestyle they lived together.
In Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern let the audience know that prince Hamlet does enjoy a life out of the kingdom where he can mingle with his friends and scholars. In their own way Timon and Pumbaa and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern both remind their princes of their responsibility to their kingdoms and fathers. One of the other main similarities between the two stories is between the characters Sarabi from The Lion King and Gertrude from Hamlet. They were both the queens and remained the queens after the death of their husbands. Once Scar and Claudius take over, the queens are shown to have little to no power over anything.
They are basically just there for looks. When the princes returned back to their kingdoms they are appalled to see how their mothers have been treated and that also drives them to kill for their father’s revenge. As you have seen, there are many similarities between Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Disney’s The Lion King. This is a positive example of how Shakespeare has been used in modern times and in stories and culture. I would have never guessed that Shakespeare influenced one of my favorite movies ever, but now that I know that, it makes The Lion King even better.