When taking a close look at the Disney movie “The Lion King”, any one who has studied “Hamlet” can see the parallels between the two. The simple plot, a son’s revenge for his father’s death, is the basis for both stories. Simba bears many resemblances to Hamlet. Scar is, in many ways, like Claudius. Besides the likenesses between main characters, there are also similarities between secondary characters as well.
In “The Lion King”, Simba runs away from his home after his father is killed. He is too young and inexperienced to take on the responsibilities that are suddenly thrust upon him. He retreats to the jungle where he meets a meekrat and a warthog named Timon and Pumbaa. Timon and Pumbaa are to Simba what Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were to Hamlet. The pair of carefree friends are a contrast to the melancholy lion cub that comes to them as an escape.
Tom Stoppard based his play, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”, with the belief that the pair are the embodiment of existentialism. Existentialists view on human existence is that life has no meaning. To a certain extent, Timon and Pumbaa can be seen as the same. Their popular motto, “Hakuna Matata”, meaning no worries, was adopted by Simba, along with their “problem free philosophy.” In a very elementary interpretation of existentialism, similarities between what the two pairs of friends represent can be seen. Timon and Pumbaa convince Simba that nothing in his past matters and that he shouldn’t worry about anything.
... play has caused more than half a dozen deaths, King Hamlet, Hamlet, Gertrude, Laertes, Polonius, and himself just to name the ... irrationally, Besides his intellectual qualities and his questioning attitude Hamlet also shows another characteristic that a king should have. ... prepares for the reaction, and also weighs the consequences. Hamlet questions things from the very beginning when he asks Horatio ...
When Simba first escapes to the jungle, Timon and Pumbaa prod him to tell them what has happened to him. When he finally gives in and tells them what his own father entrusted him to, they laugh at him, disbelieving what they hear. The pair provides the comic relief in the movie. They take away the reality and the seriousness of the situation at hand.
The idea of absurdity is often taken on in existentialism. While Rosencrantz and Guildenstern don’t laugh at Hamlet, they do represent a sort of relief from the main focus of revenge. Timon and Pumbaa do not exactly fit the mold of existentialists. However they represent the same general philosophy that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do in Hamlet.
Breisach, Ernst. Introduction to Modern Existentialism. New York: Grove Press Inc. 1962.