Everyone recognizes the unforgettable opening scene of The Lion King. The rising sun paired with the African singing and vivid pictures of different animals is truly unique and is loved by almost every person who has seen the movie. As strange as it may seem, The Lion King actually has some scientific meaning. It carries out a recurring theme that pertains to our everyday life. The first song called “The Circle of Life” points out the main theme of the movie. From an environmental and biological perspective, the circle of life is an important concept when it comes to dealing with Earth’s ecosystem. Throughout the movie, the theme is mentioned every now and again. Almost every main scene in the movie can be tied back to this theme of the circle of life.
To begin with, Mufasa, the king, further sets up the basis of this theme when he gives his son, Simba, a tour of their kingdom. He says to Simba, “We are all connected in the great circle of life.” He gives Simba the rundown of how their kingdom works. He tells Simba that even though they eat the antelope, they themselves will eventually die and become part of the grass and then the antelope will eat the grass. Therefore, they are all a part of the circle of life. Not one organism is meant to control all other organisms. The circle of life needs to be respected, and if it is disrupted there can be severe consequences, which is shown later in the movie.
After Mufasa dies, Simba is exiled from the kingdom. He runs away and eventually passes out in a desert where Timon and Pumba take him under their wing and teach him the way of how they live. Simba only knows the life of a king, so this is a big change for him. He is introduced to a new way of living. He essentially goes from living at the top of the food chain to living at the bottom. Simba has to adapt to the way other creatures at the bottom of the food chain live. Without Timon and Pumba’s motto, “Hakuna Matata,” Simba may not have been able to live the way they taught him to live. In the end, he learns what the circle of life actually means, which helps shape him into becoming a noble king.
When Uncle Scar becomes king, the kingdom falls apart. Instead of being smart about the availability of food, he decides to hunt everything in the kingdom that can be hunted and eaten. His minions, the hyenas, help along with taking apart the kingdom by eating everything in the vicinity. Eventually, all of the food runs out. There are no animals left in the kingdom except for the lions, hyenas, and of course Zazu. The kingdom is vacant, dry, and corrupt. No animals are left to help the upkeep of the habitat they all live on. Eventually all of the animals had to die off or leave because they had nothing to eat. As a consequence of no animals, the trees and grass die, because the balance of Earth’s ecosystem relies on every living organism. Each organism has to partake in their role for Earth’s ecosystem and habitat to be perfectly balanced.
This theme can relate to Earth’s current environmental problems. The difference is that in The Lion King, a dictator and his followers destroy the environment, whereas in today’s society, every human being is destroying the environment. Through our over consumption of Earth’s natural resources, the environment is paying heavily for it. We view the environment as something that needs to be conquered. We need to treat the environment like how Mufasa treats the antelope. They may eat the antelope, but since their bodies become part of the soil that enables the grass to grow, they are giving back to the antelope. Likewise, we may use the environment for things such as crops, but we should also be giving back to it. In the end, our “kingdom” can look like the one in this movie if something is not done about it.