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‘The Lion King’ is a movie produced by Walt Disney Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa. It presents the adventures of Simba, a lion who had to face the difficulties of life at a very fragile age. He had to take his father Mufasa’s place and be a king of the Pride Lands. However, Mufasa’s brother and Simba’s uncle, Scar kills Mufasa. Simba runs away and after he grows older he come back home and realize that he must revenge his father and stop his uncle from destroying the Pride Lands. The entire story is based on the evolution of Simba and the stages he is going through in the pursuit of maturity. ‘The Lion King’ can be analysed and criticised through psychoanalytic perspectives. In this essay I will consider ‘The Lion King’ as a cultural artefact. I will elucidate the psychoanalytic theory presented in the film trough the psychoanalytic concepts of Freud. Moreover I will criticise ‘The Lion King’ artefact from a psychoanalytic perspective. The beginning of the movie shows the presentation of Simba to the assembled throne in front of the whole jungle. A very important symbol is shown from the start, ‘The Pride Rock’ which is the phallic symbol of masculine power. This is the place where Simba is shown to the entire jungle. He is the little prince of The Pride Lands or in Freud’s view ‘His Majesty the Baby’ (Freud, 1914:91). In fact if we analyse deeply, every new born is treated like a prince or a princess by his mother. The baby benefits from the attention of everyone and he feels like the centre of the universe. Freud’s point of view was that everyone is the centre of the universe at their own birth. Moreover, the image from the beginning of the movie shows that Simba is not only the centre of his parents’ world, but he is adored by the whole jungle. The presentation of Simba consists in a ritual made by a monkey, the priest of the jungle. The image of Simba’s family is classical: mother, father and Simba, their baby,
The envy that Scar possesses comes from the inability to become king. stay with me and you will not be hungry again. Scar is presented with the hyenas in an elephant’s graveyard and a dark place filled by stones. 1994) He refers to the hyenas. While Mufasa and Simba have orange and red fur. The hyenas are black. mad. Scar’s fur is brown and black.presented in a bright light as good characters. That is why they are forced to stay with him even if they do not want to. I will be king. He describes life as 'a delicate balance' (The Lion King. Scar’s eyes are green. If he was not that arrogant he could kill Simba himself. His words are 'Be prepared for the death of the king and Simba too.' (The Lion King. Moreover. not his. hungry and wicked. His hopes are ruined the moment Simba is born. In the end of the film Scar betrays the hyenas by telling in front of the whole jungle that they are responsible for everything and the ideas were theirs. They are described as bad characters and even their appearance is darker than the others. The hyenas are scared of Scar because he tells them they will have nothing without him. Scar uses clever lyrics about power and he needs the hyenas on his side to win. They are too scared to find another way. he could have been the next king after Mufasa’s death. jealous. If Simba were a girl. He ends up being killed by the hyenas and that is the point when Scar’s shadow dies because he has been in the shadows throughout the entire story. Scar is the only one who is not present to the ceremony and he names Simba ‘head ball’. 1994) where lions eat antelopes and . In the beginning of the film. He feels like royalty and he feels that he does not have to do the dirty work. Mufasa takes Simba for a walk and explains him the course of life. Scar is angry and he wants Mufasa and Simba dead. which is considered a symbol of envy and jealousy. While Mufasa and his family live at the Pride Rock. The song of Scar sounds like a plan of revenge. ‘the dark side’. At one point. Scar lives in a dark cave. which are taken by Scar on his side. but that was not the case. the plans of Scar are explained trough a song. On the other side of the jungle. The arrogance and sarcasm of Scar can be observed in the moment he makes the hyenas kill Simba.
So whenever you feel alone just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you. There is a voice inside Simba that is stressing his thoughts. In Scar’s words. the great kings of the past look down on us from those stars. overwhelmed Simba and his wish to be king is growing. Simba brags with that in front of Nala and Zazu. Simba runs away. He is haunted by his own fear to face his mother and the entire jungle. The whole problem can be explained from Freud’s point of . He lives in his own world of fantasy where he is proud that one day he will be the future king of the whole jungle. Moreover. He would rather see his father die and run than accept dependency. 'Look at the stars.' (The Lion King. In addition to that. Even when Scar treats little Simba with sarcasm. Because Simba is a child he does not fully take the conscious in serious. 1994). the song ‘I just cannot wait to be king’ shows Simba’s narcissism. Running away is in fact a reaction based on fear. the king. Simba feels that Scar is a part of family and he trusts him. This is the moment when Simba’s super ego shows up. He thinks that when he will become a king he will be free to do whatever he wants and he will not have to respect others anymore. The wish of power is in fact an unconscious wish to push Mufasa away and take his crown. he makes Simba believe that he is the reason for his father’s death. 1994) Even if his father explains to him that one day he will leave. if it were not for you the king would still be alive.' (The Lion King. Nala is as enthusiastic as Simba but Zazu tries to take Simba to the real world with the words ‘not yet’(The Lion King. He shows his son ‘The Land of Pride’ and he tells him that one day all he can see will be his land. Mufasa shows Simba the role of the stars. he calls him ‘uncle Scar’. and so am I.antelopes eat grass. Consciously or unconsciously Simba wishes for Mufasa to die. 1994) . What will your mother think? Run away and never return. When Scar kills Mufasa. The idea that he will have the supreme power is overexciting for little Simba. When lions die they become grass and the cycle continues. 'The king is dead. Simba is too excited to think that his father has to die in order for him to become a king. The parental figure of his father.
Furthermore. Pumba tells Simba 'these two words resolve all your problems' (The Lion King. who kills his father and marries his mother. He becomes ‘phobic’ to the Land of Pride and trough his journey he tries to conceal the memory of Mufasa. The Oedipus Complex begins to show from the moment when Simba sang the song ‘I just cannot wait to be king’. Simba grows and he is not a child anymore. It is your responsibility. 1994) With Nala and Rafiki’s help. This situation is all about the ‘Oedipus complex’ and by running away from the Oedipus complex he has to forget Mufasa. he starts to behave to differently. Thus. For example. He hides from reality through the new motto and he tries to adapt his old life to a new one.' (The Lion King. means no worries for the rest of your days' (The Lion King. After some years. Simba’s running away is a traumatised reaction to the Oedipal conflict caused.' (The Lion King. 1994) and Timon approves him. 1994). he does not eat meat anymore. the Freudian understanding of ‘Kakuna Matata’ refers to no kids. 'We need you at home.view. as his father told him to do so 'You said you will be always there for me but you are not. no wife and no responsibilities. As his new friends said. the only food he had contained bugs. Simba does not kill his father but he sees his father die. In the present case. he finds the . Simba tries to speak with the stars. From the moment when he is found by Timon and Pumba he starts a new life with the motto ‘Kakuna Matata’. He knew that Mufasa’s death was only an accident but Mufasa died to protect him. The shame he feels for his mother is so deep that he cannot face it. Simba decides to reject his superego and satisfies his identity by abandoning all his responsibilities. Freud’s theory is based on the myth of Oedipus. everything is destroyed. the film ‘The Lion King’. 1994) Simba is afraid to come back home because he thought that his father’s death was because of him. ‘Kakuna Matata. the way he finds is easier but he has no future if nothing will change. you are the only hope. That is the reason why Simba feels guilty and he cannot face the past and especially his mother. Nala finds him and tries to convince him that the Pride Land needs him.
Even Nala and Sarabi. That is because they look alike. Moreover. Simba decides that he has to come back home and rescue his kingdom but what he cannot picture is the image that Nala describes to him of the Land of Pride. His envy is in fact a destructive envy because he destroys all the beauty of the Land of Pride and transforms it in darkness and ugliness. that is the reason Nala runs away from home. look inside Simba. he lived in Simba’s conscience. She wants to find help because there is no food anymore and all the animals could die. He uses a therapy which encourages Simba to learn from the past and face the past. Simba’s mother. the monkey priest. He is afraid to lose the parental love. At this point Simba finds himself in an emotional struggle because he has to remember who he really is and what his role in life is. Trough the entire movie Simba feels guilty because of Mufasa’s death. but the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it. One is the need of punishment because he knows how much he wished for himself to become a king and another one which refers to the fear of losing love.voice of his father in himself. you have to take your place in the circle of life. He has to find his own way back to Mufasa’s identity. now he has to fear the lies said by Scar. Rafiki. plays a very important role in Simba’s search for identity. While Simba thinks that he is responsible for his father’s death. at first sight thought that Simba is Mufasa.' (The Lion King. From the moment Scar was king everything was destroyed. Simba thinks that his mother will blame him for his father’s death . Mufasa was the voice he needed and that voice was inside him. The words of his father guide him 'You have forgotten who you are and so you have forgotten me. 'The past can hurt. 1994) He finally finds the reflection of his father in his heart and Mufasa speaks through his son. This is another aspect that shows Simba how much he resembles Mufasa and he realises that he has to follow his father’s thoughts. he cannot find Mufasa in himself.' (The Lion King. 1994) Mufasa was not dead. Due to the fact that Simba had an emotional decline because of his fear of coming back home. This guilt has two origins.
the new child is part of a ritual for the ceremony of presentation in front of the jungle on the Pride Rock which is the symbol of power.and that means that he will lose his mother’s love. This aspect regards the Oedipal complex. The ending of the movie is a happy one. Simba feels attached to his mother and he cannot imagine how life would be if his mother will look at him in a different way. Simba’s journey was about achieving the level of maturity in order to be a king. the moment he realises that he has to come back home. where good wins over evil. he proves that his level of maturity is that of a king. Scar dies and the king of the Pride Land is Simba. Even if Simba runs away from his home. This cultural artefact was elucidated trough the entire essay with Freudian theories and concepts. the Land of Pride. The main psychoanalytic perspective is the Oedipus Complex whose stages can be found one by one during the film. The final image is very similar with the one from the beginning of the film where the king and the queen are presented with a new born. The darkness and sadness disappear and The Pride Land looks once more bright and filled by happiness. . in celebration of the birth of the child. In conclusion. ‘The Lion King’ is a film that can be analysed and criticised from many psychoanalytical points of view. As well as Simba.