Scar vs. Hitler
There are a scary amount of similarities between Scar, the villain in The Lion King (1994), and Hitler. First off, in the song “Be Prepared” Scar is filmed from very low angles, just like Hitler was filmed in the infamous movie about him, Triumph of the Will (1936).
There are also quotes throughout the song “Be Prepared” that show Scar’s resemblance to Hitler.
"Be prepared for sensational news, A shining new era is tiptoeing nearer." -Scar
“We stand at the at the end of the Age of Reason. A new era of the magical explanation of the world is rising.” -Adolph Hitler
I mean come on Disney. These quotes are so eerily similar that they nearly plagiarized Hitler’s words.
In "Be Prepared," Scar has the hyenas march in front of him in the same exact way as Hitler had his military march during Triumph of the Will.
The amount similarities to Hitler that a character has is very proportional to how evil he/she. This is because in today's society Hitler is viewed by most as the epitome of evil throughout all history.
What is Disney saying about Scar's leadership?
Disney makes a clearly negative statement about Scar's overbearing and oppressive way that he rules. When Mufasa was king, he was a fair and just leader so the pride flourished; the grass was green, the population was dense, and the spirits of the pride were high. However, after Scar takes over as king, he abuses his power, becoming a totalitarian king, which indirectly sends the pride to a near apocalyptic state. Disney is making the point clear that totalitarian governments cause more harm than good in this world. Below you can see the difference in Pride Rock under Mufasa's reign (below) and Scar's reign (background).
A very important way that Scar uses his wits to stay in power is by making the lions of Pride Rock feel worthless. Since Scar is so cruel and condescending, the lions lose their will to fight back and take Scar out of his throne. They also lose their will to hunt for food by the end of the movie, which is a large factor in the downfall of Pride Rock.
Scar experiences something that many leaders who also abused their power in the past have seen. At the end of the movie, even Scar’s most loyal followers, the Hyenas, betray him and ultimately kill him. This happens to cruel leaders because as they are in power they become more and more harsh, until eventually even their closest allies realize that there is a problem.
If you want to watch the entire fight scene between Simba and Scar, click above.
For this section it is first important to look at the way that power was passed down in The Lion King
- When Mufasa was king, Simba was set be the next ruler after he died or wasn’t able to lead. Although there was someone ready to be heir to the throne, the unknown amount of time between leaders and inability for anyone outside the royal family caused some problems, as you’ll see.
- When Scar was king, there was literally no one in line to be leader next. The amount of uncertainty about who would be the next leader can cause people to fight over power. Without any set form of king succession, there will be a high chance of revolt, as I will explain.
There is more than one reason behind the period of famine and turmoil after Scar takes over. In a paper on the consequences of political assassination, Zaryab Iqbal and Christopher Zorn found out that a period of instability is way more likely in states where the way a leader passes down power to the next leader is not normal or standardized. In Pride Rock, there was no set time limit for when the king has to give power off to the next leader, which could definitely have caused some of the absolute chaos that ensued following Mufasa's death. To read Iqbal and Zorn's detailed research on political assassination click this button:
Here is the full video of Mufasa's heroic, yet tragic death if you're ready for a tearjerker.
Why is there such a struggle for power?
Going along with the last point, Iqbal and Zorn also go on to talk about how in states without a good way of passing power, there is a higher chance of political assassination. The main explanation behind this comes from the fact that assassination in certain cases may be the only way to gain power. Unlike in the United States where we elect a new president every four years, if it takes a lifetime to have a new leader, the chances of someone challenging that leader over a long span of time will go up.
Based on the systems in place for how power is transferred in Pride Rock (that I mentioned in the last section), there is a higher chance of someone murdering the king during both Mufasa and Scar’s respective reigns. As we can see, both of those leaders do get successfully overthrown, which backs the claim made by Iqbal and Zorn.
To see a list of examples where political assassination was used to overthrow an oppressive regime click below: