Lion King Summary Essay Rubric

Years ago, Abraham Maslow arranged all motives in a hierarchy form lower to higher. The lower motives come from physical needs that must be satisfied, and the higher motives come from the desire to live as comfortably as possible. An example of this hierarchy in action is in the Walt Disney creation “The Lion King. ” Simba has to go through Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs before he can be happy. Simba’s character was not very aggressive, although he tried to be. Aggression is behavior that is intended to inflict physical or psychological harm to others.

Aggression can be learned by observing others. When the hyenas confronted Simba, he tried to roar. When he did this he was displaying the aggressive behavior the he had observed while watching his father. Simba also observed the learned drive of achievement by watching his father. Mufasa was such a great king and Simba was so anxious to be like him that everything he did revolved around him trying to king before he even grew up. For example, he tried to take on three hyenas by himself. In the beginning of the movie, when Simba was young, he had a very high curiosity drive.

From the first time that his father showed him the kingdom, he wondered about “the shadowy place” just outside of the kingdom’s boundaries. And that is how Simba’s curiosity worked against him. Simba felt that he never got to go anywhere or do anything. Simba wanted, so much, to be like his father, and he felt like he had gotten the chance to “play king” when his Uncle Scar told him that there was an elephant graveyard just beyond the boundaries of the Pride Lands, Simba just had to go check it out.

Consequently, he put not only himself in danger, but also Nala and Zazu. After his Uncle Scar exiled him from the Pride Lands, Simba was very sad and he felt that he was responsible for his father’s death. The only motivation Simba had to survive was Timon and Pumbaa. If Simba had not have met them, then he would have died out in the world by himself. He had just begun to live, he could not even hunt for himself.

Timon and Pumbaa helped Simba get past his troubles by teaching him their “problem free philosophy” and by telling him to “put his past behind him. Simba went through the first four steps of Maslow’s Hierarchy during the time that he lived with Timon and Pumbaa. When he first met them he said, “I’m so hungry I could eat a whole zebra. ” An example of the first step of the hierarchy being met, which is physiological needs, is when Timon answered him by saying, “If you’re going to live with us, you have to learn to eat like us. ” After they ate, Simba’s physiological needs, such as hunger, thirst, and sleep, were beginning to be met.

Simba’s safety needs were met because he was at the top of the food chain and nothing would harm him. He was the one who provided the safety for Timon and Pumbaa. In return, Timon and Pumbaa made Simba feel loved, which met his need for belongingness. They also helped him meet his esteem needs by not putting him down and always being there for him. Nala, Rafiki, and Mufasa all played a role in Simba’s reaching the final step in the hierarchy, which is self-actualization. It began when Nala found Simba and reminded him that he is the king.

While Simba was living with Timon and Pumbaa, he may have thought that he had reached self-actualization, but really he had forgotten who he was. Nala brings Simba back to reality, Rafiki literally knocks some sense into him, and reminds him that his father still lives in him, and Mufasa told him to remember who he is. Because Simba had met all five of the needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy, he was able to return to Pride Rock, take his place as king, and finally he could really be like his father.

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If you've never seen The Lion King, close this tab, head over to the rest of the interwebs, and...just watch. See, this here's a musical with some of the most famous songs in Disney history ("The Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata" for starters). Because our musical performances are better in person and not via written-word summary, you just won't get the same vibe from us as you will from the movie. So yeah...go watch.

Back? Good.

We open with what rivals Raiders of the Lost Ark for best opening scene in movie history: "The Circle of Life."

In case you don't speak disney fanatic, here's what's happening: we're in the Pride Lands, where a bunch of animals are going to the presentation ceremony of a young cub named Simba. But Simba isn't just any old lion cub: he's the son of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi, the royal family of the Pride Lands. The entire animal kingdom is thrilled to hear of Simba's birth, especially Rafiki, the elderly baboon who functions as Mufasa's spiritual counselor. 

The only one who's not excited? Old Uncle Scar, who's jealous that his nephew will likely inherit the throne before him.

Sound familiar? Yeah, it's Hamlet.

Via some amazing montages, we watch Simba grow up. Like most little kids, he's pretty mischievous. At Scar's not-so-subtle urging, Simba convinces his friend, Nala, to accompany him to an elephant graveyard that Mufasa has expressly forbidden him from visiting. Simba, Nala, and Zazu—a red-billed hornbill who is Mufasa's majordomo—end up in the elephant graveyard anyway. Because kids.

Just as they're about to get eaten by a trio of bloodthirsty hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, Mufasa shows up and saves the day. Like ya do.

After their would-be prey escapes, the hyenas lament how hungry they are. Scar, who apparently spends a lot of time chilling in this elephant graveyard, overhears them. Turns out they're all buds, and Scar and promises them unlimited food if they'll help him kill Mufasa and Simba. Easily bribed, the hyenas agree.

Cue: cackles and every kid in american finally knowing what a laughing hyena is.

Scar lures Simba into a giant gorge with the vague promise of a "surprise." Simba—who's still a little kid, if you remember—goes there eagerly, without questioning his super creepy uncle. While Simba is practicing his roar on a lizard, he notices the ground is shaking. The hyenas have sent a stampede of wildebeests over the edge of the gorge, and Simba is caught in the stampede.

Mufasa rushes to rescue his son. Because he's Mufasa (i.e., a total rockstar), he saves Simba immediately. But then...he gets carried off by the stampede. With a final burst of effort, he leaps up onto the edge of a cliff where Scar is standing and begs his brother to pull him up. Because Scar is a power-hungry sociopath, he throws Mufasa off the edge of the cliff instead. 

Mufasa falls to his death. 

Excuse us while we grab some tissues.

To add insult to injury, Scar convinces the impressionable Simba that he is the one responsible for his father's death (as if his little cub roar could actually set off a stampede) and urges him to flee into exile.

While in exile, Simba makes friends with a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa. Timon and Pumbaa basically raise him, teaching him the ways of the jungle—like what bugs are best to eat, how to burp as loudly as possible, and how to sing a song that would become part of the American subconscious for decades.

As Simba grows up, he forgets about his role as king of the Pride Lands. 

That is, until Nala accidentally stumbles upon Timon and Pumbaa's hideout.

After some convincing from Nala, Rafiki, and the ghost of his father, Simba finally decides to return to the Pride Lands. One problem, though: Scar has completely ruined the once-beautiful kingdom. The place is dark and destroyed, all of the leaves and greenery wilted. What's worse: none of the lions have anything to eat.

Simba confronts Scar, demanding that he cede the throne. Scar isn't exactly keen on that idea, and he tells the other lions that Simba was the one who killed Mufasa. Simba, still in the dark, admits to the "truth" of this statement. He and Scar fight, and Simba ends up dangling from the edge of Pride Rock. Just as Scar is about to throw Simba to his death, he confesses to Mufasa's murder. 

Scar's confession gives Simba a burst of energy (confession: we're getting choked up while writing this): he pulls himself back up and attacks Scar, eventually throwing the evil lion into a pit of hungry hyenas who have turned on him.

After Scar's defeat, Simba assumes the throne. He and Nala get together and have a kid—a son, shocker—who goes on to become the next king of the Pride Lands. 

And the Circle of Life continues.

Unfortunately, so does the franchise, with a couple not-great sequels.

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