Hamlet vs. Lion King

Lauren, Reed, Zanil and Kane


Hamlet and Simba

These two characters are the focus of both stories. Hamlet and Simba both have to come to terms with the death of their father, but more importantly they have to deal with the inner conflict crippling their minds. They were also both exiled by their uncles. The role that these characters face with their uncles is double edged because the characters have to come to a realization that family ties are not always as they seem.

Claudius and Scar

Claudius and Scar both play the role of the evil, covetous, and murderous uncle. They both start the unfortunate series of events that eventually lead to their own peril. An underlying theme of both stories involves jealousy. Both of these brothers- Claudius to Hamlet Senior and Scar to Mufasa- are characterized as willing to commit any crime to get what they want.

King Hamlet Senior and Mufasa

Both Hamlet Sr. and Mufasa are great, noble kings, as well as fathers to the protagonist. Both kings are loved by their sons and their people. A common underlying theme in both stories has to do with their brothers betraying them. Both Hamlet Sr. And Mufasa meet their demise at the hands of their lesser, jealous brothers.

Horatio and Nala

Horatio and Nala don't actually play similar characters in their immediate relation to the protagonist. Nala is Simba's romantic interest while Horatio is Hamlet's best friend and only confidant. Both Horatio and Nala play the main supporting roles for the protagonist. They help their protagonist achieve their main goals. Horatio and Nala are faithful and dedicated to the protagonists and their causes.

No Match Characters

  • Laertes- There is not a character in The Lion King who has to run a journey parallel to Simba while the plot took place. Laertes had to follow the same mindset of avenging his father alongside Hamlet. It would be easier to match Laertes if Nala had a brother, but she does not.

  • Rafiki- Arguments could be made that Rafiki was similar to Polonius because of his connection to the king and his seemingly overarching knowledge of the characters. However, Rafiki's primary goal was to aid Mufasa and Simba, not to follow Scar. Rafiki was more than happy when he realized that Simba was alive, but Polonius was weary of Hamlet. Polonius was scared of what Hamlet was capable of- which proved fatal for this conniving character.

The Lion King - Simba & Nala's Argument (English)
Hamlet - in my heart of heart.


Man vs. Man

Claudius vs. Hamlet

  • Hamlet suspects that Claudius was the one who murdered his father. This causes Hamlet's personal vendetta against Claudius in order to kind out the truth, and eventually to kill Claudius.
  • Claudius' conflict with Hamlet is created when Hamlet begins to act insane. Hamlet is constantly causing problems for Claudius. Hamlet's behavior constantly frustrates Claudius, creating even more conflict between the two.

Scar vs. Simba

  • Scar's conflict with Simba is created through jealousy of the throne. Scar knows that Simba will eventually get the title of king. Scar will never have the title and power he wants as long as Mufasa and Simba are alive.
  • Simba's personal conflict with Scar is created when Simba realizes that Scar has ruined the Pride Land. The conflict is brought to its peak when Scar admits to killing Mufasa.

Man vs. Himself


  • Hamlet's self conflict is due to his lack conviction. For most of he play, Hamlet is all talk and no action. Even when he finds out that Claudius did murder Hamlet Sr. Hamlet still hesitates when given the chance to kill Claudius. Hamlet recognizes his own lack of conviction and pegs himself as a coward for not being able to do what needs to be done.


  • Simba's self conflict is created because he believes that he is the reason Mufasa is dead. Simba casts himself from the Pride Lands in an attempt to rid himself of his past problems and start a new life, but he overcomes the fear of his own weakness in order to kill Scar and win back the Pridelands for his family and his kingdom.


You must first overcome inner conflicts in order to overcome greater external conflicts

This is the central idea for both works because it boils down to the root question in life of "who are you?" This question is just as relevant today as it was back in Shakespeare's time which is why this theme is so everlasting. Both Simba and Hamlet must ask themselves this question in order for them to finally deal with their inner conflicts. There are two scenes from each of the works which run parallel to each other when it comes to the main character finding his conviction. In Hamlet, Hamlet delivers a soliloquy which ends with him saying "Oh from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!" This is similar to when Simba is convinced by Nala that he must return to the Pridelands to save his kingdom despite Simba's fear of how the others might react to his "secret". Both characters find their conviction and overcome their inner conflict so that they can begin an even bigger conflict externally.
Hamlet Act IV Scene IV Speech (Kenneth Branagh)
The Lion King - Simba & Nala's Argument (English)

Betrayal Leads to Death

This idea is presented very clearly in both stories in that the act of betrayal will eventually catch up with the perpetrator. In the Lion King, the only explicit form of betrayal comes when Scar kills his brother Mufasa and leaves his nephew Simba to die. This scene is paralleled in Hamlet when Claudius kills his brother Hamlet Sr. and attempts to kill Hamlet Jr. by sending him to England. In both cases, the acts of betrayal lead to the deaths of the person that broke the bonds of brotherhood in order to gain power. The belief that every evil act comes with a price is shown in the eventual demise of the villains in both stories, and the theme that betrayal leads to death is inevitably displayed in both stories.

Ending Scenes


Both ending scenes involved the main character, Hamlet and Simba, finally confronting their respective uncles. The fight between the uncle and the nephew is so significant because it shows the ending of a "hero's journey". The nephew, in both works, have to overcome many obstacles to gain control of his destiny and his kingdom.


The story told by Shakespeare is much more violent than that told by Disney. Unlike the Lion King, Hamlet dies and so do most of the parallel characters. Also, the Fortinbras and Laertes conflicts do not show up in The Lion King. Another thing that is different is the fact that Hamlet does not become king after the conflict. Simba eventually takes the throne, but because of Hamlet's death and the Fortinbras conflict, Hamlet does become king.

The Quest

The quests in both works follow the same general idea, but take place over a much different timeline. Both quests initiate due to the uncle banishing, formally or informally, the nephew from the kingdom. Then, the nephew must overcome himself and the obstacles placed in front of him by of his uncle to take back the kingdom. After doing so, the nephew must face his uncle in a dramatic show of character. The Quest for Hamlet is short because he is only sent to England for a short time. Simba, on the other hand, has his whole adolescence to complete this journey. Luckily for Simba, this difference in time has allowed him to better ready his mind for the upcoming duel- unlike Hamlet.

Mohammed Eltabakh Lfc

The Lion King Musical play by Mohammed Eltabakh Lfc