Sunday, September 9, 2012

Disney and Shakespeare

As I'm sure is the case with all of the students in our class, my childhood seemed to revolve around Disney movies. I recall seeing Hercules on its release date, replaying The Lion King and Aladdin endlessly with my brother, and being enthralled by their infectious songs. It was not until I reached middle school, though, that I began seeing certain hidden themes and "Easter eggs" in Disney movies (like Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, and Hercules, to name a few). More importantly, though, each of the aforementioned movies is based on (or at least parallels major themes from) a Shakespearean drama.

Perhaps that last statement was a bit forced. Maybe I only made those connections because this is a class about Shakespeare. Do any of these classic childhood movies really stem from the musings of the greatest dramatist of all time, or is this yet another example of academia's forced allocation of his universal themes into everyday life? Honestly, I'm still not sure what to think (of these possibly forced connections, or of this class in general); while I do agree that the plot of The Lion King follows that of Hamlet quite well, does that mean that every story involving regicide in the past five hundred years stems from Shakespeare's immaculately written tragedy, or just that we compare them all to Hamlet because it is indeed so immaculately written? I hope our discussions during the semester help me solidify my opinion on this.

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