Philosophical approach to “The Lion King”

“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from crawling ant to the leaping antelope.” – Mufasa

Movies help us, to better reflect on, and understand our lives [1]. Musical drama movie, named “The Lion King”, produced by Walt Disney Picture, manages to plant multiple valuable seeds which slowly, but surely grows in our visions.

This animated movie, captures the adventures of Simba (a lion cub), the heir of his father (Mufasa). Scar, is featured as the evil, and manipulative uncle, who tries relentlessly to secure his place on Mufasa’s throne. In this process, Mufasa gets killed, whereas Simba escapes, believing that the death of his father is his fault. Once adult, Simba returns back to take back his kingdom from the corrupted Scar.

In this movie, if one considers the existentialist interpretation, the following would be true for Simba’s character: depending on what is expected from him, as a cub, Simba acts accordingly, considering the fact that he is indoctrinated by his parents, and blindly accepts the morality of the society which he is part of. Friedrich Nietzsche named this as socially-maintained, or herd morality. In the beginning things function normally, without him having to consider his own judgements and actions. However, once he leaves his society, he finds himself going farther from his moral limits. Moreover, he thinks that by leaving, he is being rebel, but what crosses our minds is that he still has not broken free, and he is still defined by the rules of his former society. Due to being young, he is intellectually incapable of defining his own rules and values, which is why a proper vision could not be created by him. Even when the opportunity presents itself, he retreats, unable to carry the weights of responsibility [2] “Oh yes, the past can hurt us. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” – Rafiki.

In order for Simba to become an individual, he has to neither accept, nor do the opposite of his society’s morality, but under the influence of his societal values, it is necessary for him to choose his actions carefully independently. Unable to do so, we can observe that Simba is lazily walking and singing, together with Timon and Pumbaa aimlessly. Simba is looking for a meaning and purpose. Once again, Nietzsche supports the fact that, people would do anything, just to avoid a meaningless existence. When Nala (lioness whom Simba marries) confronts Simba, he has a directionless and purposeless life. He gets ashamed, when faces the truth that, “if he doesn’t do something now, everyone will starve.” This is the moment when he throws himself in his society’s morality, and act accordingly to become the king he was expected to. “Love will find a way, anywhere we go. We are home if we are there together.” – Simba

Therefore, I highly recommend to the fellow readers to watch this movie, prior having read the variety of ideologies which the movie falls into. Once in a while, all of us should face ourselves, and question what our aims are, and whether we are moving in that direction to realize them. Thus, I ask you, what is it that you live for? Do you do the things now, for what you can become in the future? Do you take responsibility?

Dzaner Shengjuler

Sources:
http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/Vol17-issue6/K01767780.pdf?id=7363#:~:text=Movies%20affect%20many%20of%20us,our%20society%20and%20culture%20operate.
https://philosophynow.org/issues/94/The_Lion_King

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