The Mannerisms and Personalities of Lions in Aesop’s Fables

As Shakespeare wrote in A Midsummer Nights Dream, God sheild us!- a lion amongladies is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more fearful thing than your lion living(qtd. in)Aesop among many other prominant authors wrote tales of animals taking on humancharacteristics, but none is so prevelant as the reputation of the mighty lion. Known as the king ofanimals, the lion appears as an object of strength and nobility in countless aspects of life includinghistory, literature, art, astronomy, movies, and dance.

Who is this amazing creature? According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the lion(Panthera Leo) is a flesh-eating animal that live cheifly in sandy plains and rocky places wherethere are thorn thickets and tall grass. Male lions can reach a length of 2.50m (8ft), and a weightof 250kg (550lb). They can live for 15 years, but in captivity some have reached an age of up to30 years. They mainly eat larger herbivores such as buffalo, zebra, and in cultivated areas anoccassionally human. There strength is amazing, and both parents take great care in tending totheir young, often referred to as cubs (168-69).

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Much is to be said about the mannerisms and personalities of lions, and no one hassummed this up as well as Aesop. There are four fables listed in our textbook dealing with thequalities humans believe to be true about lions. These assumptions may have begun with Aesopsfables, but really knows. In the first fable, The Lioness and the Vixen, the saucy personality of the lioness is shown.

When denounced for the birth of only one cub, the lioness quickly snaps back aat the vixen, Onlyone, she said, but a lion(Aesop 607). This answers the question of quality over quanity; and formost the lion is considered the best in quality the cream of the crop as some would say. Aesopiterprets here that the lion knows he is the best, and doesnt mind sharing it with the rest of theanimal kingdom.

Aesop again illustrates the lion as being king in The Lion, The Wolf, , and The Fox. Aesop clearly writes all the animals came to pay respect to their king, (Aesop 607). Even in thetitle of the fable Aesop lists the lion first before the wolf and fox. This could just be by mishap, oras seen in other fables the animals could be listed in order of appearance in the text. Regardless ofthe title Aesop gives the lion dominating powers of the other animals. He writes the liondemanded to know at once what cure he had found,(Aesop 608). Demanding things and gettingthem done is defenetily not an attribute the lamb generally has among fellow beasts.

Next, in The Lion and the Mouse who Returned a Kindness, a different side of the lion isshown. The lion showing pity is seen when the lion lets the mouse live and go free. This is theopposite from the previous fable when the wolf is taken away and flayed alive. Also a vulnerablelion is illustrated; when the lion is trapped by a hunter, and then set free by a mouse. This fableraises an interesting question to its readers. Who is the real king the lion or man? In the times ofgladiators and the Roman Colosseum lions devoured humans in the arena, and were awarded forit.

Although still greatly respected by humans, I think it is fair to say human beings rank abovelions in the long run. It is noteworthy to say that biologists and other proffesionals have noticedsome qualities of lions that wouldnt be asssociated with a king. Encyclopedia Britannica statesthat studies have shown that lions do sleep for most of the day, and on occassion use theirintimidating factor to steal food caught my other animals

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The Mannerisms and Personalities of Lions in Aesop’s Fables. (2019, May 09). Retrieved from