Discussion Questions for “The Lion King”

For this week’s discussion questions about Shakespeare’s influence on “The Lion King” (2019), I will ask you to watch a few short video clips before you answer the questions. For your convenience, I’ve provided links to each video on YouTube. Note that you may need to view the videos more than once to get the full gist of them, but in each case I’m asking you to comment on the worldview or life philosophy portrayed in a particular song or speech. I hope you have fun with this!

Listen to the song “Circle of Life” from the beginning of “The Lion King” and pay close attention to the lyrics. What is the worldview or life philosophy communicated in this song? How does this song connect to the life lessons that Mufasa tried to teach young Simba? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO1TGPvNdpA

Watch this short video of David Tennant as The young prince Hamlet performing a famous speech from that Shakespeare play. What is the worldview expressed in this speech? Compare and contrast this life philosophy to the one from “Circle of Life” in “The Lion King.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On14CIYwpyE

Watch this short video clip of Patrick Stewart as Macbeth performing one of the most famous speeches from that Shakespeare play. Clearly Macbeth is grieving because his wife has just died, but what do you think he means by “out, out brief candle”? What overall worldview or philosophy is demonstrated by this speech? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZnaXDRwu84

Listen to the song “Hakuna Matata” from “The Lion King” and pay close attention to the lyrics. What is the worldview expressed by this song? Does the message seem at all similar to Macbeth’s attitude in the “tomorrow and tomorrow” speech and why or why not? How does this song’s message affect young Simba as he grows into an adult? How does this song reflect Simba’s relationship with Pumbaa the warthog? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU5Yb44seNs

Watch this short video of Sir John Anthony Quayle as Falstaff, a sort of Pumbaa to Simba figure in the education of young prince Hal in Henry IV Part 1. In this clip, he talks about how great it is to get drunk all the time on “sack,” which is a type of strong white wine. Compare and contrast this advice to the attitude of Hakuna Matata. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImVoqdZPPak&t=4s

Published by Chuck Caruso

writer of dark fiction (crime, horror & western noir), literary & textual scholar (american gothic, noir, po-co, sf), and cultural critic

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