::: Jim Rovira
Disney does a knockoff of Shakespeare and gives Hamlet a happy ending. ::: Click here to read the full text.
Harry, I think you should carefully read me before you uncarefully disagree with what I've said.
"Jim, how can the message of tLK be that Simba's vengeance was good when it wasn't vengeance?"
I don't know if you've seen the film, but Simba's initial motive to return to his homeland was to take his rightful place as King. He returned, confronted his Uncle, had to fight with him, his Uncle thought he had him beat, then confessed he killed Simba's father. Simba, in response, was strengthened by his anger at his Uncle's murder and defeated him.
My point was about plot structure, though, not about individual motivation. The plot structure is that revenge was taken on the Uncle for his murder of his brother and his usurpation, and as a result of successful revenge the land was restored and all was made right. Simba's individual motivation at any point along the way is beside the point -- from the -audience- point of view, the murdering Uncle got what he deserved.
It's the message communicated (not the "moral" -- the "moral" of a story has to do with conscious intent, usually) at that level that I'm addressing. In most films, we only care that the bad guy gets it in the end. It doesn't even really matter that the good guy kills him; in fact, in many films, the bad guy dies rather inadvertently, not as a direct result of the good guy killing him. Remember the movie _Ghost_? Swayze's character didn't kill the bad guy -- a broken window slid down into him, killing him. But it doesn't matter if Swayze killed him or not, or if he meant to kill him or not. It only matters that he was killed. With the death of the bad guy, with successful revenge, all evils are removed and the characters can move on, can live "happily ever after" so to speak.
That's the plot element I'm trying to point out, as well as the mindset behind it.
"Hamlet's attitude doesn't matter? Please!"
It doesn't matter to the point I am making, nor to the approach to the play I am taking. That should be evident at this point. The plot structure of Hamlet, at the level I am speaking of it, is completely opposite The Lion King on this point. You sound like you're expecting me to do an analysis of Hamlet. I had no such intent. My intent was to compare Hamlet to TLK at one specific point only, described above.
Jim, how can the message of tLK be that Simba's vengeance was good when it wasn't vengeance?
Hamlet's attitude doesn't matter? Please! The point of Hamlet is that everyone will always be killed off. Everyone progresses from King to the belly of the worm. Now that circle of life thing would be a much more interesting parallell between the two to explore. But if you're reading Hamlet as a moral tale where we all learn not to seek vengeance because everyone ends up dead, you're way off.
Thanks much for the response. I think in both cases we need to distinguish between the overall effect of the film/play, and the attitudes of specific characters within it at any given time.
So I would say there's a difference between Simba's initial motivation to return to his homeland (the bad state of it all as a result of Uncle's rule), and the "message" being spoken of by the film as a whole. The message would be, at least in part, that Simba's vengeance on his Uncle was an unqualified "good" carried out without any negative results.
Same with Hamlet. Remember I described the -play's- possible effect on its audience as being "of the futility of vengeance." The character Hamlet's attitude, at any given point in the play, is beside the point. No matter what growth or development Hamlet himself may have went though, he still wound up dead.
So the major point of different to me was that there's no overall redemption in Hamlet (the play) through vengeance that's parallel to the redemption through vengeance in Lion King. Vengeance in Lion King made everyone happy in the end, vengeance in Hamlet killed everyone off.
World of difference.
How can tLK be a myth of happy vengeance when you say that vengeance doesn't play a motivating role?
And you've got Hamlet all wrong. It's not about the futility of vengeance. It's about the futility of everything BUT vengeance. In the great soliloquy in IV.iv Hamet answers his earlier, more famous soliloquy from III.i as he watches Fortinbrasís army storm into Poland, Hamlet is essence says, what am I doing sitting here on my duff while the world gets about its futile mission? Iíve got a job to do and Iíll be damned if I donít do it! So ďfrom this time forth, My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!Ē Think of Polonius throwing all his books into the water at the end of the Tempest.
let me qualify your correct observation a bit:
1. I get to write my interpretation.
2. WE get to interpret my interpretation.
I'm a reader too, you know. :)
Not so fast Jim:
YOU may get to write the interpretation.
But WE get to interpret your interpretation.
Or what's a Metaphilm phor?
Just some clarifications to potential commentors:
1. The article is not about whether or not we should have engaged in wars with Iraq and in Afghanistan.
2. The article is about the mindset revealed by our entertainment and political rhetoric, and what's dysfunctional about it.
So there you go :)
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