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A Film Review The Lion King English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2931 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The Lion King presents the story of a lion cub’s journey to adulthood and acceptance of his royal destiny. Simba begins life as an honored prince, son of the powerful King Mufasa . The cub’s happy childhood turns tragic when his evil uncle Scar murders Mufasa and drives Simba away from the kingdom. In exile, the young lion befriends the comically bumbling pair of Pumbaa the warthog and Timon the meerkat and lives a carefree jungle life. As he approaches adulthood, however, he is visited by the spirit of his father, who instructs him to defeat the nefarious Scar and reclaim his rightful throne.

– What to focus on and why :

In The Lion King, there are a variety of leadership styles (True Leaders) and leadership abuses (Positional Leaders) that are portrayed through the cast of characters.

Simba is the perfect example of “psychonynamic approach to leadership”, Mufassa is the representation of “social exchange theory” and Scar integrates him “the bad powers”.

It seems to be interessant to focus on Simba’s feel of culpability that may him rejet himself, his family, best friends and his royal’s destiny. Discovering Scars mudered his father,

he puts himself in confidence and integrates all the characteristics of fundamental leadership concepts (bases of power and leader skills, traits, and behaviors) to become the Lion King and makes it a reality

3. ANALYSIS (some questions to consider) :

– Presentation of all principal characters in the film :

Mufasa Regal, commanding and majestic, Mufasa is a great king with a kind, generous heart.

Scar As Mufasa’s brother, Scar was next in line for the throne until Simba’s birth, and he is obsessed with the need to possess it.

He’s now Simba’s and Mufasa’s enemy.

Simba Simba is a rowdy, independent little cub who likes to romp and play. When Simba’s father dies, it leaves Simba unsure about who he is.

Nala Nala is ready to go wherever he goes or do whatever he does. Her friendship for Simba will deep into love.

Zazu Mufasa’s trusted advisor, Zazu is a prim and proper hornbill with a strong sense of personal dignity. He is all dedicated to Mufasa.

He stays with the pride through good and bad times.

Timon Timon is a hyperactive meerkat with a motor mouth. Always making good-natured jokes.

Behind the patter is a loyal little guy who’d give his last wisecrack to help a friend.

Pumbaa Sympathetic and warm-hearted with empathy, Pumbaa is ready to trust anyone. And when Simba confronts his destiny, the loyal warthog is the first to follow.

Sarabi Mufasa’s wife and Simba’s mother, is kind, gentle and loving. Courageous she holds her own through Scar’s destructive rule, and she is proud when her son comes back to battle the evil ruler.

Rafiki The wise old baboon, is like a tribal medicine man or an ancient shaman. Rafiki travels his own road. He guides Simba back to the path he was meant to follow.


Hyenas Always on the lookout for their next meal or an innocent victim to taunt. When they’re not arguing, these punks can be found doing Scar’s dirty work.

– Representation of each character and how they relate to others :


Simba is the only son of Mufasa, the King of the Pride Lands and ruler of Pride Rock. His mother is the Queen Sarabi, and he is the nephew of the King’s brother Scar, who sees a political opportunity in the young cub’s trust in him. Working to his disadvantage as well as defining his character is Simba’s mischievous, adventuresome spirit, which he indulges at every chance with his friend Nala, often getting into trouble from which the King’s majordomo Zazu is charged with rescuing him.

Blamed for his father’s death in a disastrous wildebeest stampede engineered by Scar and the Hyenas, and exiled to the jungle far from Pride Rock, Simba is befriended by Timon and Pumbaa. He’d be perfectly happy to live there forever, if not for a chance meeting with Nala that calls him back home to face his destiny.


Nala’s mother is Sarafina, one of the pride’s lionesses and a friend of Sarabi. Nala is a close friend and playmate of Simba, with whom she’s never afraid to go exploring or get into mischief.

The Pride’s traditions dictate that Nala and Simba will one day be Queen and King together; but when Simba is lost after Mufasa’s death, she devotes her life to providing for the pride as the Pride Lands fall into ruin. The last thing she expects is to find Simba alive again.


As a king and leader, Mufasa holds a deep understanding of the forces that make the Pride Lands balanced and healthy. His duties as King of Pride Rock include managing the hunting by his own pride and other creatures, and resolving disputes over feeding and watering grounds, to ensure the land’s resources are not exhausted. He’s also responsible for raising his son Simba to be a wise king like himself.

Mufasa’s greatest weakness is his trust and kindness. Mufasa does not suspect his brother of being so consumed by these feelings that he would actually go so far as to plot Mufasa’s murder in order to usurp the throne.


The younger brother of King Mufasa. Scar, ever the more conniving and subtle thinker of the two brothers he loses his position in line to inherit the throne from Mufasa.

He develops a plot to kill his brother and nephew and seize the kingship by force with the help of hyennas.


Zazu is the steward and majordomo to the King of Pride Rock, keeping the king informed of happenings within his lands. Zazu’s position is one that fills him with pride and courtly manners. It’s his job to report to the king on any potential disputes or crises over hunting who must be driven out of the Pride Lands. He takes this job quite seriously, and even the formal-minded Mufasa finds Zazu’s fussiness amusing enough to make him the butt of occasional jokes. Zazu is loyal to the king, taking on all responsibilities without complaint.

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Timon set out to seek adventure and fulfillment out in the greater world. After a chance meeting with the mystic mandrill Rafiki, who taught him the feel-good philosophy of hakuna matata, Timon met an unlikely partner in the blundering warthog Pumbaa, with whom he sought for the perfect responsibility-free home. They found it in the jungle that lies across the desert from the Pride Lands, and a steady diet of multicolored bugs kept him and Pumbaa well-fed with no need to hunt or forage.

When Simba is exiled from the Pride Lands following his father’s murder, he is rescued from near death from exhaustion by the carefree duo, who pass on to him their “put your behind in your past” philosophy. Simba grows into a kingly lion on the same diet of bugs that Timon and Pumbaa eat, but only the unlooked-for arrival of Nala threatens to bring to an end the fellowship of the three outcasts. Timon refuses to believe there’s anything more to life than hakuna matata, but eventually his loyalty to his friends wins him over and he plays an instrumental role in the retaking of Pride Rock.


The amiable warthog Pumbaa is loyal to his friends. He wants to be useful, and he wants to be wanted. Pumbaa unhesitatingly follows Simba and Nala into battle for he knows the value of duty, hakuna matata or not. His loyalty to the needs of his friend Simba eventually overpowers Timon into following Pumbaa’s honorable example.


The Queen to King Mufasa and the mother of Simba. She’s a responsible mother, watching out for her son and making sure he doesn’t get into any trouble that he can’t get out of, as well as making sure he keeps clean.

Ever defiant to the usurping king, she retains Mufasa’s knowledge of the balance of the Circle of Life and tries in vain to make Scar understand the damage he’s causing to the Pride Lands; but her advice is unwanted and unheeded by the vindictive usurper. Only the unlooked-for return of Simba stops what surely would have been Sarabi’s murder by Scar seeking a scapegoat for his own failures.


His role in advising the young Mufasa against mischievous plots by his brother Scar made him a permanent resident of the region, employed as Mufasa’s teacher and spiritual guide, and living in a baobab tree within sight of Pride Rock. He is a special guest at the presentation ceremony of the newborn Simba, whom he blesses and shows to the whole assembled population of the Pride Lands; after this, he monitors the young prince’s growth and progress with his own mystical arts and the signs he reads in the paintings he makes on the side of his tree.

Timon encounters him at the time of his own exile to be taught of the philosophy of hakuna matata; and later, Rafiki teaches a much different doctrine to the grown Simba, who upon being reunited with Nala must look within himself to discover the meaning of his heritage as the true Lion King and inheritor of Mufasa’s throne. Perhaps Rafiki is the only one who truly understands how every creature, in his or her own way, fits into the Circle of Life.


When it comes time for Scar to move against his brother and nephew, he calls upon the aid of his Hyena henchmen, who by the time of Simba’s birth have become lazily subservient to him and his ability to provide food and diversion for them. They’re clever enough to be employed in creating a deadly stampede that results in Mufasa’s death and Simba’s exile, and they are rewarded richly with positions of power and privilege within Scar’s kingdom, even surpassing the status of the lionesses of Pride Rock, throughout Scar’s destructive reign (1).

– Leadership styles, how they interact between characters, the outcomes of these interactions :

Transformational, “Incarnational”, Motivational Leadership styles :

Mufassa demonstrated transformational leadership. He taught Simba how to be a leader. He didn’t use force or manipulation instead Mufassa provided discipline and unconditional love. In the process Mufassa learned to be patient and understanding. His son was still young and he had a lot to learn. Simba had no experience but in order to gain the traits of a king he needed support and affection. Mufassa was willing to invest time and effort so that Simba could become a capable leader he was personally involved with his son. This type of leadership is also known as “Incarnational Leadership”. Mufassa raised his son to the best of his abilities. He didn’t depend on others to teach Simba leadership skills. His presence strengthened their relationship. This is important because people want to follow visible leaders who are actively involved. The Incarnational Leadership style is both personal and supportive. Mufassa also displayed motivational leadership. Throughout the movie Mufassa encouraged his son to be strong and courageous. Whenever we encourage others they in turn become confident and gain respect for themselves.

Transactional Leadership style,

Scar on the on the other hand displayed the complete opposite of Mufassa. His leadership style was transactional : he wanted power and in return he would provide food for the hyenas. It was basically an exchange process. Once Scar was in power he maintained control by resisting change. He accomplished his goal with the help of the hyenas who provided protection and support. His motives were selfish and dishonest. He had no concern for the well being of the lions or anybody else. His desire for power led him to murder his own brother and deceive his family. His leadership style was manipulative. Scar lied to everyone so he could fulfill his selfish desires. His only concern was to achieve and maintain absolute power. Scar actually had no really power it was given to him with the help of the gullible hyenas. Scar had no vision for his followers. This is evident towards the end of the movie when all the food was gone and Scar was still unwilling to make necessary changes to help the community. He was more concerned about his position as king. We see this attitude among leaders who have positions but don’t know how to lead effectively. When their ability is questioned they come up with excuses or blame others for their failures. Instead of admitting their flaws or misgivings they grasp for control. The result of this type of leadership leads to tension and frustration.

Process of leadership growth,

Simba faced tremendous challenges without the support of this father. He was the rightful king but because of his father’s death his position and identity vanished.

For a long period of time Simba was not the lion his father expected him to be, he followed his own path. Simba struggled with guilt, fear and his identity. He was nothing like his father. But even though challenges like these are difficult to overcome it helped Simba to mature as a leader. His situation forced him to see that leadership was not about being brave. Leadership is not a display of power but a process of development and discipline. Simba was faced with a challenge at an early age. Mufassa’s presence only made Simba more comfortable and complacent. We can’t always depend on someone else to do everything for us nor should we expect that our mentors are always going to be there. Mufassa’s tragedy helped in the sense in that it showed Simba the truth about his identity and responsibility. Then he learns to accept his circumstances and discovers the insight of his father. He becomes aware of the responsibilities and the duties that are necessary. But because of his guilt and lack of confidence Simba remains hesitant.

Simba finally discovers his identity and potential. He is no longer enslaved by his past. He has become a full-grown lion who can now fend for himself. His convictions have been confirmed by Mufassa’s approval, and now there’s nothing that can stop his mission. It is during this stage that Simba confronts the truth about his father. He takes responsibility for the death of his father even though it is a lie. Simba was willing to face the consequences, he was no longer hiding from his calling, he knew Scar had to be overthrown. This is the crucial part in leadership. Simba was willing to face rejection, confrontation and uncertainty. He was courageous at the right moment. He had risen to the occasion and now displayed the true characteristics of a leader (2).


– Aspects of leadership not considered which are evident in the film.

The Spirit of The Lion King.

Betrayed, rejected, running from responsibility, growing strong through adversity, The Lion King, is full of Biblical parallels, colorful characters and personal struggles that help us identify with a lovable lion made in the image of man. Behind the spectacular scenery and noble sentiments hides the timeless earth-centered view of reality that has always lured God’s people from truth to myths.The Lion King demonstrates an alarming shift in values. It uses tribal magic for “good.” The film opens with a spectacular celebration in honor of Simba, the newborn prince. The animals of the land flock to Pride Rock, where the mystical baboon Rafiki cracks open an egg-like gourd, dips his finger into the dark liquid, and anoints the little lion with a mark on his forehead. While Pride Nation worships its royal heir, Simba’s devious uncle Scar wishes him dead. As soon as the infant king grows to cubhood, he becomes a target for Scar’s cruel schemes. The first plot fails, but the next assault kills King Mufasa. Scar blames Simba for his father’s death, sends the heartbroken cub into the wilderness, and tells three savage hyenas to finish the execution. Simba escapes through a web of thorns and collapses under the hot African sun. A warthog and a meercat find the little prince, revive his exhausted body, and teach him a new philosophy: No worries! Hakuna matata! Back in Pride Lands, Scar and his hyenas reign.

The land lies dry and barren. One day, Rafiki looks into his magic gourd and sees Simba’s living image. He sets out to find the reluctant heir to the throne, then demonstrates a worldwide pagan traditions: reliance on help from everpresent ancestral spirits. Simba hears a familiar voice call his name. He looks up. His father’s ghostlike image appears Simba believes. He sees that the dead are not separated from the living, nor earth from the realm of spirits. Everything is connected.

Empowered by a new sense of identity, he races back to Pride Lands to challenge his uncle, win the throne, and restore the land.

Soon, Pride Nation celebrates the birth of the next lion prince, the son of Simba and his cubhood friend Nala. Again, Rafiki lifts a royal infant for all to worship.

The cycle of life can continue (4 ).


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