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Olivier’s Old Hamlet Compared to Disney’s Mufasa

  • Date Submitted: 12/04/2011 04:35 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.5 
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Olivier’s Old Hamlet Compared to Disney’s Mufasa

Many have made various adaptations of the Shakespearean classic play Hamlet. The elements that are changed in these adaptations give crucial insight into the director’s perception of the events of the play, sometimes done for theatrical effect while at other times done simply for the sake of clarity. One examples of such differences is the scene in which Hamlet sees his father’s ghost in Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet compared to the same scene in Disney’s The Lion King. While there is the similarity between the two in that they both urge the male protagonists to take actions resulting in avenging their fathers’ deaths, Old Hamlet’s ghost in Hamlet and Mufasa’s ghost in The Lion King are fundamentally different in their appearance, mood, and purpose.
One major difference in the scenes with the ghosts in the two movies is in the characters restraining the protagonist from seeing his father’s ghost. In Hamlet, Horatio and the guards physically restrain Hamlet from seeing the ghost of his father, citing concerns for his safety as their reasoning. In The Lion King, the primary antagonistic forces preventing Simba from seeing his father’s ghost are not separate characters, but instead his own internal feelings of guilt and remorse as he believes he was responsible for his father’s death. The adaptation that The Lion King takes adds another previously missing element of internal conflict which is considerably more difficult to display in cinematic adaptations where soliloquys and asides look out of place.
Another major difference in the scenes is in the portrayal of the ghosts of the protagonists’ fathers. In Hamlet, Old Hamlet’s ghost is never actually seen by the viewers of the movie. In The Lion King, Mufasa’s ghost is clearly visible to the viewers, but Rafiki does not directly acknowledge his presence. Both of these lend credence to the widely held notion that Old Hamlet’s ghost was in fact simply a hallucination...

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