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KitKatMatt

Morals In Movies: The Lion King

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Plot details will be expounded on in this post for all those who are spoiler conscious :)

 

 

 

 

 

The format that I would like to do these posts in will include a summary, and then a breakdown of different characters and the challenges they face. I know that many people know about The Lion King and have probably seen it, so a summary might seem a bit silly, but I would really like to practice this because I've never done it before. I hope it is an enjoyable read!

 

 

The Lion King is one of my favorite movies. It came out when I was a child and I have watched it more times than I can count. It's a staple for many families, and I think it contains a lot of great lessons! When I was a child no one ever sat me down to talk about themes in movies, so now that I know there are people out there who like to talk about details even in kids movies I am very excited! (Kudos to you TvTropes for showing me this!) This is why would like to talk about the moral lessons that The Lion King can teach us!

 

Summary:

 

The star of the movie is Simba, the son of the leader of a pride of lions that live on Pride Rock. Mufasa is his father and wants to teach him the lessons he needs to assume his role as king later in life. However, Scar, who is Mufasa's brother, is angry that he will never be king now that Mufasa has a son. Scar plots to kill Mufasa and Simba, and he succeeds half way by causing a wildebeest stampede. Still alive, Simba is told that it was his fault that Mufasa died, and that he should run away and never return. While he runs off, Scar tells his hyena henchmen to kill the cub. Simba manages to get away but the hyenas do not tell Scar.

 

Simba wanders far into the desert and is saved from death by Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. They teach him to turn his back on the world when bad things happen, and to live a lifestyle free from cares, worries, and responsibilities. Their life motto is "Hakuna Matata" which means "no worries".

 

Scar assumes the throne in the wake of the death of Mufasa and Simba, and brings the hyenas to live with the lions even though the two groups of animals are enemies. The pridelands start to fall apart, sending the lionesses further and further out to find food.

 

Nala, Simba's chilldhood friend, is searching for food when she spots Pumbaa and tries to catch him. An adult Simba runs to his defense and attacks her, but they soon recognize each other and happily reconnect. Friendship turns to romance, but soon that's shattered when Nala realizes that Simba is really the king and tells him to come back. Simba refuses to come back and also refuses to tell her why because of his guilt, and the two go their separate ways.

 

As Simba walks off, he's annoyed by a mandrill who turns out to be Rafiki, a good friend of Mufasa's. Rafiki knows who Simba is and claims Mufasa is still alive. Simba follows him to where Mufasa supposedly is, revealing a pool of water. Rafiki tells Simba that Mufasa is still alive inside of him. Simba then talks to an image of Mufasa in the sky telling him to take his place in the circle of life.

 

Simba returns along with Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa to the pridelands to fight Scar for his place as king. Scar makes Simba "admit" that he is really responsible for killing Mufasa, and backs him against a cliff that he slides down, barely hanging on. Scar reveals that it wasn't Simba that killed Mufasa but himself, and Simba leaps up and the lionesses come to his aid to fight Scar. Scar's hyena army lead the attack against the lionesses, and in the mess Scar gets away up the side of Pride Rock.

 

Simba follows him where things culminate into a fight, and right as Scar is about to leap onto him for the final blow, Simba kicks him off Pride Rock where he lands among some burning plants, surrounded by the hyenas. The hyenas took offense to Scar trying to blame them earlier for not being able to step down as king and attack him. Simba takes his place on the cliff in front of Pride Rock as king of his pride, and is shown to later have a cub with Nala who will be the next one in line.

 

 

Morals and Lessons from the Characters:

 

Mufasa, Simba's father, protects his son with his life. He fights off hyenas to save him when Simba and Nala get into trouble, and though he is very angry with Simba he patiently tells him why he is so upset so that Simba can understand. He teaches bravery* and patience. *Mufasa explicitly defines bravery to Simba, which I think was an excellent move.

 

Sarabi, Simba's mother, stands up to Scar's wrath when the pridelands have gone to waste. Even with hyenas snapping at her as she walks by to intimidate her, she does not flinch. Sarabi teaches courage in the face of adversity.

 

Simba, being the main character, shows us many other things. He shows that being rash and seeking danger is a bad thing, as when he first sneaks away with Nala to the Elephant Graveyard and gets attacked by the hyenas. Mufasa told him not to go there to protect him, not because he was hiding some fun place.

Simba later has to deal with the intense guilt of believing he was responsible for his father's death, and if it weren't for Timon and Pumbaa, he would have died himself in the desert. There is a lesson here as well, that it is OK to accept help when you are dealing with a very bad situation. Sometimes having a friend in these times can mean a huge difference for your future, even if they can't reverse the events of the past.

However, upon Nala telling him that he is the rightful king, Simba refuses to take his place and would rather continue to live a life free of responsibilities instead of face something difficult in his past. It takes Rafiki to remind him that Mufasa still lives within him, and Mufasa speaking from the dead to remind him of his real identity and his place in life. Simba wanted to forget who he was and never return because the idea of his mother and family learning that he "killed" his father was too much, but in the end it was the only thing that could save them all from starving to death under Scar's mismanaged and ruthless rule. The moral here is that you must always do the right thing, even if it hurts very much to do so.

 

Scar has his own lessons. His greed to become king is based on his desire to be the ruler, even though he lacks all of the abilities. He turned out to be a terrible king, to the point where he refused to allow the pride to leave Pride Rock even though it would mean the starvation of the entire pride. Scar needlessly killed his own brother, and attempted to kill Simba, just to reach the top and revel in the feeling of power. The lesson he teaches is that succumbing to greed and envy does not benefit you or anyone else, and can in fact be very harmful.

 

Timon and Pumbaa had a great life in paradise. They had all the food, water, and shelter they'd ever need their entire lives. When Simba came and went, they could have stayed there and continued to live a life free of responsibilities, but instead they chose to follow their friend to a desolate, depleted land because it was important to Simba. The lessons they teach are loyalty and friendship, which they displayed wonderfully when they left behind their perfect lives and walked away into an uncertain future to aid Simba.

 

The hyenas, specifically Shinzi, Bonzai, and Ed, show what happens when you blindly follow a leader just for the spoils. Attracted by Scar's claims that they would never go hungry again, they didn't realize that they were just being used by him. While lions and hyenas are enemies and hyenas are depicted as unsavory at best in the movie, they can also teach a lesson. Their lesson would be not to blithely follow any person that promises a reward for obedience, because they may be using you for their own ends and leading you down a very bad road.

 

Nala is a great friend to Simba when they are young. When she is reunited with him later in life, she insists he returns to take his rightful place. Simba refuses and gets very angry, but Nala continues to tell him what he should do and does not back down. Even when you are friends with someone, do not be afraid to speak up when they see to be making the wrong turns. I think this is an important thing to learn.

 

 

There are probably more lessons to learn from the movie, but that is all I have in my head for now. I really love this movie, and I wish I could talk about all the different things it teaches. Being a "kid movie", it should be less of a way to kill 90 minutes and more of a way to open up a good discussion about motives, themes, lessons, and morals to young minds.

 

Thank you to anyone who has made it to the end :)

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It's been a while when I saw The Lion King, so I actually had to watch some of the scenes again. I got two things in my mind.


I was thinking about the scene in which Simba and Nala argue. I actually feel for Simba in it, because while Nala is technically right, she doesn't have the emotional baggage Simba does. In Nalas mind, going back is easy, she can just walk there and go on from where she left. For Simba on the other hand, it's unclear is he even wanted back by the pride, or does he have right to go back at all after what he (in his mind) has done.


I think there can be seen a hidden lesson about lecturing a friend. One doing that should realize it's important to see the situation through the friends eyes to understand why someone who is seemingly doing something obviously wrong, might want to choose it. Sometimes there might be an explanation which actually makes sense.


Another thing that came to my mind, which might be a bit far-fetched but reading through your review I actually got a moment of inspiration. In Simbas exile, it's possible to see an allegory about Christianity-escapees, like myself. I think it's possible someone can end up turning their back on their religion as a result of believing wrong accusations told by "Scar", someone who has no right to represent the opinion of the king. And hearing those lies can make me wrongly believe that I'm a screw-up who has no place in the pride. Is my allegory making any sense?

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It's been a while when I saw The Lion King, so I actually had to watch some of the scenes again. I got two things in my mind.
I was thinking about the scene in which Simba and Nala argue. I actually feel for Simba in it, because while Nala is technically right, she doesn't have the emotional baggage Simba does. In Nalas mind, going back is easy, she can just walk there and go on from where she left. For Simba on the other hand, it's unclear is he even wanted back by the pride, or does he have right to go back at all after what he (in his mind) has done.
I think there can be seen a hidden lesson about lecturing a friend. One doing that should realize it's important to see the situation through the friends eyes to understand why someone who is seemingly doing something obviously wrong, might want to choose it. Sometimes there might be an explanation which actually makes sense.
Another thing that came to my mind, which might be a bit far-fetched but reading through your review I actually got a moment of inspiration. In Simbas exile, it's possible to see an allegory about Christianity-escapees, like myself. I think it's possible someone can end up turning their back on their religion as a result of believing wrong accusations told by "Scar", someone who has no right to represent the opinion of the king. And hearing those lies can make me wrongly believe that I'm a screw-up who has no place in the pride. Is my allegory making any sense?

 

 

You're right about Nala not really knowing what Simba is going through. Although Simba refuses to tell her, it's not because he's being difficult, he is hurting very badly because of something terrible in his past and he's scared.

 

I see what you're saying in the last paragraph! That's a really awesome observation and another very important thing to think about.

 

Thanks very much for your addition! :D

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