Simba and Hamlet
Meeting Their Father's Ghosts
Simba and Hamlet are the main characters of their works. Gavin also believes “that both Hamlet and Simba represent the mythical archetype of the exiled child whose role is to restore world order and who has an heroic task” (Gavin, 1996). Simba, being the prince of the Pride Lands, dreams of following in his father’s footsteps and having the freedom to do whatever he wants when he is still a lion cub. The same expectation is seen of Hamlet, but his uncle marries his mother and his age prevents him from seeking the throne after the death of his father. Though their personalities and introduction differ, they still hold many similarities as far as the overall plot is concerned. The late King Hamlet, Hamlet’s father, appears to Hamlet as a ghost. During Hamlet’s time period, Lucifer was seen to have the ability to manifest and trick people by taking many forms; Hamlet’s companions warn him and accuse the king’s ghost to be Lucifer but Hamlet believes the ghost to be his father. The ghost of King Hamlet tells his son that Claudius, Prince Hamlet’s uncle and the king’s brother, was the one that murdered him and married his wife to take the throne. The king’s ghost wants Hamlet to seek vengeance so he may rest in peace. Simba is also visited by his father’s spirit, but later in the movie as an adult. Simba’s father, Mufasa, appears in the sky and tells his son to seek his “place in the circle of life” and is “the one true king” (Minkoff & Allers, 1994). Mufasa’s spirit comes when Simba is in need of him the most and as a father, Mufasa’s wish, unlike King Hamlet’s, is for his son to take his rightful place as king; Scar’s death does avenge Mufasa, but Mufasa’s intentions were not for violence, but for the rightful king to rule the Pride Lands.
Both princes are exiled from their homes, Hamlet, in Act IV Scene III, is taken to England by orders of Claudius to be executed, Hamlet however gets away and returns to Denmark with revised plans towards revenge on Claudius and Gavin also further notices that “During his exile, Hamlet has discovered his purpose in life. He realizes that his rightful place is in Denmark as its heir apparent.” (Gavin, 1996). After Mufasa’s death, Simba is tricked by his uncle, Scar, to “run away and never return” to the Pride Lands. Simba, thinking Mufasa’s death was his fault, takes his uncle’s advice and flees; unknown to him, Scar had instructed the hyenas to kill the young prince. Simba escapes the hyenas and wanders the savanna until he is found by Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. Simba rather than learning to hate and want revenge he discovers “Hakauna Matata” which translates into “no worries” (Minkoff & Allers, 1994) and abandons all forms of responsibility until he encounters Mufasa’s spirit. When Simba fights Scar after Scar boasts about how he killed Mufasa, Simba then returns the statement “run away, Scar, and never return” (Minkoff & Allers, 1994) as a way of getting vengeance for exiling him when he was a cub believing he had accidentally caused the death of his father. Simba’s remark to Scar is similar to the revenge of Hamlet, but in a less violent way. Hamlet wants to kill his uncle for murdering his father; Simba, on the other hand, wants Scar to go through the same punishment he bestowed on Simba for killing his father.
846009_1317556571305_full.jpg [Web Graphic]. Retrieved from http://images4.fanpop.com/image/polls/846000/846009_1317556571305_full.jpg
Gavin, R. (1996). "the lion king" and "hamlet": A homecoming for the exiled child. The English Journal, 85(3), 55-57. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/820106
In-the-play-Hamlet-by-William-Shakespeare-the-prince-Hamlet [Web Graphic]. Retrieved from http://media.web.britannica.com/eb-media/50/154650-004-FAF479A2.jpg
Minkoff, R. & Allers, R. (Producer/Director). (1994). The Lion King [Motion Picture]. United States: Walt Disney
Shakespeare, W. (1992). Hamlet. United States: A Washington Square Press