Prince Hamlet is the hero although he ends up dying. Hamlet’s tragedy is rooted on the odd activities that are happening in a royal compound. The King of Denmark is poisoned by Claudius who is his blood brother. The king’s death is blamed on a venomous snake bite. Claudius then assumes the throne and hastily marries Gertrude who is the widow and Hamlet’s mother. This wearies hamlet. Meanwhile, the king’s ghost appears to the castle guards in two nights and on the third night, they invite Horatio who unsuccessfully try to dialogue with the king’s ghost. When Hamlet himself meets the ghost, he learns of the cause of his father’s death. This angers him and he decides to take revenge. He does this by feigning madness.
Hamlet’s quest to eliminate self proclaimed King Claudius leads into more tragedy. He kills Prime Minister Polonius by mistake. He also withdraws her love for Polonius’ daughter which also ends up drowning. In the end, Polonius’ son called Laertes returns to Denmark and conspires with Claudius in a plot to kill Hamlet. Laertes and hamlet face off in a sword fight. Laertes’ sword and hamlets wine are poisoned. His mother unknowingly takes the poisoned wine and dies. They all end up dies by the same sword.
Disney’s movie “The Lion King” is a tailored version of the Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. Just like the hamlet, it revolves around hatred, betrayal, revenge and murder. In the ‘The Lion King’, Scar who is a little bit strange from the rest of the lion family conspires with the hyenas to kill king Mufasa. Scar then assumes the throne and the command of the animal kingdom. He brings in hyenas and the kingdom starts falling. Meanwhile, Simba who is the true prince of the animal kingdom goes on exile in a foreign land where none knows about kings and their kingdoms. Scar is unskilled and ruins the entire animal kingdom through bad leadership. Samba returns home at a time that all animals are weak but yawning for change. They support him and Scar and the hyenas receive a capital punishment.
Unlike the Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, Disney’s drama targets children. For this audience, the producer ensured a wonderful introduction and a once in a life-time event. To capture this audience’s attention, the drama uses an animal kingdom as opposed to the human royalty. The animated characters are well chosen and they definitely fit in well in their roles as intended by the producer. Their names also identify them with the African culture that the film has a strong base on. The use of animated characters in a children film is very conversant with their level of development. It is accompanied with fantasy that glues the children to the film. Animated children films therefore, take care of the young age group.
Most children are fond of animals and they tend to treat them with a lot of care and love. In this way, lessons portrayed in the animated films tend to be internalized well by the children than if real human characters are used. For instance, the mostly feel for the suffering animals and wish they could offer them some help. When Simba is subjected to a lot of pain by Scar, the audience can sure afford to show some sympathy. It also brings in surprise when the children see the animals with the humanistic characteristics such as the ability to speak fluently.
Secondly, ‘The Lion King’ is colored by humor. Since children like fun, the use of humor squarely places this film within its audience. The animations display a lot of fun in the language use and how they relate with one another. For instance, when King Mufasa takes his son to the top of the mountain and shows him the entire animal kingdom, he refers to their kingship artistically. Amusing actions in this movie will keep the audience to the screen full of anxiety to catch the next laughter. Children enjoy thrilling stories and will surely love to watch such a show.
The use of music and tunes is yet another value added to Shakespeare’s work. It blends American popular music and African rhythms. Disney blends this film with very entertaining music and melodies that appeal to the audience’s ears. Classic music and lyrics such as ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ in this film is by Elton John and Tim Rice. The dance in this film is also choreographed by Gath Fagan. These techniques are very modern and thus capture the current generation. Again, the use of new songs by African singers Lebo M and Mark Mancina brings on board the African spirit of Serengeti.
Disney also blends the play to fit in its new environment-Africa. The play is given an African setting and thus Disney sneaks in some African words. For instance, it uses an African Swahili word ‘hakuna matata’ to mean everything is fine.
In conclusion, Disney modifies the Shakespeare’s Hamlet play to match the needs and desires of its young audience. The company incorporates animated characters which are humorous and thus, offer a thrilling and fascinating moment to the young people. To attract its target audience in Africa, it gives the play The Lion King an African context and blends some of its parts in one of the local languages. These changes fit in so well in the film making it a captivating theatrical work.
William, Shakespeare. Hamlet : Universidad de Antioquia. U.S.A: Principe de Dinamarca, 2010.