Shakespeare in the Lion King

Shakespeare  in the Lion King

The links between famous Shakespeare's plays and The Lion King Trilogy

Anyone who's anyone sees the links between The Lion King, one of the best works of entertainment of our era, and Shakespeare's masterpieces of his era.

While I am fairly certain that Shakespeare and Disney cannot be rearranged to spell each other, the plots are similar.

But that's not to say that the Lion King copies the plays in anyway ( incase you didn't know, Shakespeare came before the Lion King by like half a millennia )


The first and most obvious link is the first movie and Hamlet. The movie creators said it themselves, they were inspired by Hamlet. The uncle kills the King to take his place, the son seeks revenge when his father appears to him as a ghost or apparition. The difference is the ending, in the Lion king it has been made more Disney.


Now the Second film and the obvious connection, Romeo and Juliet. Two warring families/prides. Two star crossed lovers fall quickly in love against the wishes of their families, eventually their love lets the families put aside their differences. Right down to the two falling in love then the death of one from Romeo/Kovu's side of Mercutio/Nuka, Then Romeo/Kovu being exiled out of the Pride lands/ Verona. Once again however, no one commits suicide. Though there is a deleted scene with Zira...

Also in the second film is the link to the Merchant of Venice. When Zira makes reference to a Pound of flesh, it is an allusion to the play.


And now the last play with a link, Macbeth. This requires a background on the history of Scotland, where a ruler is decided by the best warrior, and England, where the monarchy is based on blood lines. This represents the two ways a king can gain power in the Lion King, i.e Scar claiming next in line or Simba Killing Scar to become king.


I should also mention that based on the blood line system, Kovu would never become king so long as Kiara is alive. Kiara would be the unsurpassed Queen of the Pridelands, and Kovu would be Prince Kovu of the Pridelands. Only if Kiara died, would Kovu have a chance. So it would still mean Kovu was Kiara's consort, but he wouldn't be King just by marrying her. Do I even have to point to the current Monarch in Britain, her majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, and her husband?


Thank you for taking the time to read this Article, hope you take the time to comment as well. XD

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January 12, 2012
Usa Is not currently on the site
As I love both Shakespeare and The Lion King, I too, have noticed the links to Hamlet re: TLK, and the links to Romeo and Juliet re: TLK 2. Not just the plot in TLK, but the characters too:
Simba-Hamlet, Scar-Claudius, Zazu-Polonius, Nala-Ophelia, Timon and Pumbaa-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, etc.
Not to mention all the times that animated Disney films had a character (or characters) that shared names with those of some of Shakespeare's characters. In TLK that character is Timon (from Shakespeare's Timon of Athens).

April 27, 2011
Canada Is not currently on the site
Yes it is partly like MacBeth, because Scar kills his brother to be king, like MacBeth kills his cousin, King Duncan. And Simba flees, for fear of being blamed for his father's death (like Duncan's children, Malcom and Donalbain) In the end, Simba goes back but I'm not sure if Malcom does: I haven't got that far in the book yet.

Also I knew, of course, Lion King 2 is like Romeo and Juliet, but I didn't even realize that Noku was like Mercutio! They're not related or half-related in the play, but he still was close to Romeo.

January 18, 2010
Usa Female Is not currently on the site
Harry Potter FTW
I had heard before that TLK was like Hamlet, and I found out on my own that TLK 2 was exactly like Romeo & Juliet.

November 07, 2009
Canada Is not currently on the site
Thank you everyone. I hope to write more articles that live up to this one.

September 29, 2009
Usa Is not currently on the site
Pretty cool:cool:

got some good points i guess, well formulated! are you a Shakespeare lover? cuz i'm completely illiterate to that stuff so i'll have to take your word for it.

September 28, 2009
Is not currently on the site
Nice article you wrote here. But I have some to add:
The Lion King 1 1/2 or also known as The Lion King 3, also has Shakespeare in it. Shakespeares play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"(TLK 1 1/2) which features the events of "Hamlet"(TLK) through the eyes of two minor characters(Timmon ansd Pumbaa). According to iMDB.

September 28, 2009
Is not currently on the site
wow, this is a great article. i never really read any of shakespear so i haven't known about this! kudos!!

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