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Analysis of “The Lion King”

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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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