Fathers in ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Hamlet’

On a whim, I took my three kids to see The Lion King after school one day last week.

When the original movie came out in 1994, all the kids at the after-school-care program where I worked knew every single word and were constantly singing the soundtrack.

When we watched the current film, Mr 10 sang the chorus to almost every song. (Apologies to anyone in the same cinema as us!)

When I saw the original movie, I went on a date with a guy I didn’t know very well. We came out of the cinema, and I asked, ‘There were so many parts that reminded me of Hamlet – did you study that play in school?’

He didn’t know Hamlet. And we didn’t have another date. (These two facts may or may not be related!)

Watching the current film with my kids reminded me again of the similar themes. So forgive me – I’m about to have that conversation with my date from 20 odd years ago!

So Hamlet is a Shakespeare play about a son, a young prince, who has recently lost his father. Hamlet finds out that his father, the king, was poisoned, and as his mother has recently remarried his uncle, his father’s brother, he is suspicious of his uncle.

The funeral-baked meats did
coldly furnish forth the wedding table.

Such an apt way to explain there was not much time between Hamlet’s father’s funeral and his mother’s second wedding! We might call it a rebound in modern times!

In The Lion King, young Simba, the lion cub, future king, is convinced by his Uncle Scar that he is responsible for his father’s death. Scar tells Simba to run away and never return, and Scar then ascends the throne. However, Sarabi, Simba’s mother, is not at all tempted to be Scar’s queen, no matter how threatening Scar is to her and the other lionesses.

Both Hamlet and Simba see the ghosts of their fathers, and both of them are acutely aware of missing their fathers.

Hamlet comes to an untimely death as there was definitely ‘something rotten in the state of Denmark.’ But Simba returns to Pride Rock, defeats Scar and the hyenas and becomes king – following the circle of life as he and his queen produce a cub.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads – all kings to their kids. Hugs to all those who are missing their dads – the circle of life is not always easy to accept.

2 comments

  1. An interesting post Karen. I had not thought about the correlation between Hamlet and The Lion King before but there are certainly some similarities aren’t there?
    The Lion King is also a great reminder of the positive influence a father can be in the circle of life.
    Happy Father’s Day to all the good dads out there and thank you for your insights Karen.

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