The summer heat falls slowly upon those of us in the bluegrass during this time of year. It is important to note that many of us find a respite in the swimming holes, mountain streams, or numerous lakes in the area. However, indoor activities, such as attending a summer movie, are also an excellent strategy to get out of the weather. Those of us in the practice of psychology may receive a break from the weather by attending a film but cannot escape the presence of Freud in the movie dynamics. One of the most anticipated Disney films soon to be released this summer is The Lion King. The Lion King’s popularity is due to the main character’s quest for existential meaning combined with his search for universal truth.
Kegerreis (2013) examined the psychoanalytic aspects of the film and came up with some critical concepts that embody the spirit of the Disney characters meshed with Freudian concepts in the original 1994 film. The main character, Simba, is born as the center of infantile narcissism and omnipotence (Kegerreis, 2013). Simba’s omnipotence and narcissism give way to a false sense of self whereby he decides to seek out trouble in the elephant graveyard. After the death of his father, Simba has to confront death and the futility of his swagger. The author notes that we all must move on from infantile fantasy into a reality-based existence (Kegerreis, 2013, p. 334).
Simba, in The Lion King, is a representative microcosm of the life challenges afforded to many of us. He overcomes guilt, shame, and depression and learns to come to terms with his past. The film is a coming of age tale that leaves a lasting impact on all ages alike. The psychological components, including Freudian concepts, are accentuated in the film and provide a learning tool for those of us who practice the field of psychology.
Kegerreis, S. (2013). Freud and Klein in The Lion King. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 39, 334-335. https://doi.org/dx.doi.org/10.1080/0075417X.2013.846583
Chris Morrison, M.A.
WKPIC Doctoral Intern
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