Is The Lion King Truly Based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet?

Aloha my wonderful merfolk!

The Lion King is one of Disney’s highest grossing animated movies ever. It is however, not entirely a wholly individual and unique story. There are some who say that The Lion King is loosely based around the Shakespearean play Hamlet. Shakespeare is forced down the throats of children during their English lessons in school and you never appreciate his literature until you are older.

Today, I thought I would take the two stories and show the similarities between the two.

27. Lion King


Both of the families in Hamlet and The Lion King are royal families. Simba is the son of Mufasa who is King of the Lions, which makes him a Prince. In Hamlet, the titular character is the son of King Hamlet, which would make him a prince too.


In both Hamlet and The Lion King, the titular and main character of the story has a jealous uncle. In the Lion King this is Scar, in Hamlet it is Claudius. Both Scar and Claudius kill their brother and become King.

This also shows that Simba and Hamlet have the death of their fathers in common.

As well as the death of their fathers at the hands of their uncles, both Simba and Hamlet fighting with their uncles. Scar ends up being killed by Hyena’s whereas Hamlet kills his uncle with a sword and poisoned wine.


Mufasa appears to Simba in the stars, where he has previously told Simba his ancestors live. Hamlets father also appears as a ghost and advises him to take revenge on his uncle in order to avenge his fathers death.


When it comes to friends of the main character, Simba has Timon and Pumbaa. They teach him how to enjoy life when everything looked hopeless and dark. Simba also has Nala; a friend in childhood and love interest in adulthood.

Hamlet has Horatio, who didn’t have as much of an impact as Timon and Pumbaa had on Simba, however, he does help Hamlet when he most needs it. In Hamlet, Ophelia is the love interest.


During The Lion King, Simba learns that he needs to believe in himself and step up to his position as King of the Lions. He learns he needs to stop running from his past and accept it.

Hamlet has to make the decision whether to kill his uncle and also, make the decision to not kill himself. This is the famous ‘to be or not to be’ part.


a mermaid be waiting for you, in mysterious fathoms below


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