The Prince: The Lion King Edition

Family wathcing TV

Family watching TV

What happened to the good old days when the families would gather together on the couch and watch a good Walt Disney movie? Disney had a way of bringing families together unlike any other franchise. Some of my best childhood memories involved watching Disney movie with my family. Like the saying goes all good things must come to an end.

As I had gotten older the movies started to make less sense because the more I learned the more I would analyze what I was watching. It’s hard to watch a children movie and think of it outside of the lens of what you know. That’s why it’s hard for a biology major to watch CSI because some the stuff done on the show is scientifically impossible. Or a historian watching a historical event depicted poorly.  That’s how I felt watching The Lion King a couple of days ago. I found myself viewing that movie through a totally difference lens. While only being a freshmen I have learned so much about different theorist that while watching the movie I was trying to figure out which of the readings applied to the Lion King. Here’s what I found out.

Lion_king_dvd_cover_by_charlotte365          You can apply Machiavelli’s the Prince to a lot of parts in the movie. In the prince Machiavelli speaks on the concept of Fortune. Machiavelli uses fortuna to refer to all of those circumstances which human cannot control, which has direct affect on a prince’s success or failure. Unfortunately within the movie they experienced a lot of bad Fortune also known as bad luck.  Scar the brother of the fallen king Mufasa started experiencing his failure as a king when the Savanna dried up causing the animal kingdom to search for a new place. Scar lost all of his citizens and what is a king without his people? Nothing.

How did scar even get in a position to fail as king. Machiavelli speaks on the ways that one can become a prince.  How Scar becomes a king is talked about in chapter 8 called Concerning Those Who Have obtained Principality by Wickedness . Similar to Agathocles killing his senate to gain power, scar killed his brother to gain his power. Within this chapter Machiavelli also writes about how a conqueror should decide how many injuries he must inflict up front and do them all at once to keep his subjects from constantly resenting them. But benefits should be handed out gradually, so that people savor them. This is also one of the causes of his scars demise. When the savanna dried that was Scars chance to seal the commitment with the kingdom by establishing a food source but instead he let them go hungry. Furthermore there wasn’t any fear instill in the people. Unlike his brother Mufasa,because of his strength no one would challenge him directly due to fear of defeat. Scar did not not establish that with his people causing the hyenas and the other lions to rise up against him.

Machiavelli would have to teach Mufasa and Scar some things about how to be a king. Read my next blog post on the 28 explaining who Machiavelli would have considered a better king between Mufasa, Simba, and Scar.

2 thoughts on “The Prince: The Lion King Edition

  1. I found this post very interiesting. I would have never thought to use machiavelli to explain the events that occur in the lion king. I have not watched the lion king in a long time, but it was one of my favorite movies when I was younger and I think it would be interesting watch it again now. I also wonder what other what readings could be applied to other disney movies.


  2. It is definitely interesting to go back and watch childhood movies again. The Lion King is based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. This is a very interesting connection that I did not think of. Scar did not gain the loyalty of the other lions in the pride. They did not accept him as ruler. Once they ran out of food and water, there was nothing left for him to use to support his authority. He really couldn’t get the lions to follow him out of fear, because they had nothing to lose. They were not afraid of him because any change would have been an improvement over their situation. I think Machiavelli would approve of Mufasa as a king. His subjects were devoted because he was just, but there was also fear, as we see in the reaction of they hyenas when Mufasa goes to find Simba at the graveyard. Of course, Mufasa can’t be cruel, because it is a Disney movie. But this is still a very interesting topic and connection.


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