Upon the birth of his brother’s heir, Scar’s dreams of ruling the Pridelands slip through his claws—but he’s not ready to give up. He murders his brother and nephew to secure the throne he longs for… That is, until his nephew returns to claim his throne.
WBI ProfileClassification :: A02378#*&@
Role :: Alpha (king seeking legacy)
Motivations :: chaos (disrupting the circle of life), idealism (his authority as highest law), personal/material gain (kingship, legacy), power/influence (control of the Pridelands)
Bonus :: minions (hyenas), lair (elephant graveyard/Pride Rock), family ties (Mufasa, Simba), name (Scar/Taka)
His Significance To…Mufasa—talk about a tense relationship. Scar wants to be king; he can’t be because of Mufasa. Though Mufasa takes precautions around his brother, he doesn’t suspect Scar of malicious behavior towards Simba. This is Scar’s key to take him down.
Simba—Simba doesn’t mistrust Scar, either. Because of his innocence he truly trusts Scar to care for him, be honest, and give him good advice. In fact, until the final scene I think Simba sees Scar merely as an unfit ruler in a kingdom that doesn’t belong to him anyway. It’s Scar’s confession that reveals his treachery as a murderer.
Nala—Simba’s former playmate grows up to be a strong and beautiful lioness. The only thing Mufasa had that Scar doesn’t is an heir, so he attempts to seduce her to promote his legacy. Nala is unwilling and leaves the Pridelands.
Rafiki—they don’t have a relationship. This matters because Rafiki’s relationships with Mufasa and Simba are crucial. Rafiki’s wisdom isn’t just her own but that of former rulers! But Scar seeks no counsel. He does not remember the kings of the past. He rules alone.
Hyenas—though they aren’t smart or strong, they are many. They are Scar’s convenient henchman; however, they become his downfall when he denounces them to Simba and they overwhelm him.
Lionesses—where the hyenas are brute force, the lionesses are a slave force. Scar forces them to overhunt the land. Scar has the land he wants, but it within years it is dead and barren.
Pridelanders—Scar is a dangerous king to every other creature in the Pridelands. Where Mufasa ruled a land where animals lived and died more harmoniously, Scar murders everything for his own gain. Those who can escape. The rest die.
Significant ActionsKilling the King—MUFASA DIES OKAY? You cannot discuss Scar but ignore this fact. Scar wants to be king, so he kills the king. Problem solved.
“Killing” Simba—Scar leaves Simba to be dealt with by the hyenas, meaning that no other lion has a claim to the throne and his rule is secure.
Breaking the Circle of Life—this is Simba’s movie, so we don’t see Scar’s rule, only its aftermath. We know that a) he overhunted the land, b) there’s a drought (symbolic weather=still his fault), c) all other creatures left, and d) everyone’s hungry so nobody likes him. Ultimately, Scar’s legacy—a word that should connote life and lastingness—is just one of death and ending. Way to go, buddy.
Big Idearetellings—as it’s often said, The Lion King is more or less Hamlet with animals. And a happily ever after. We could also consider the relationship between Scar and Mufasa that of Loki and Thor in The Avengers. Or Cain and Abel from the Bible. Let’s not get started on the romance. Retellings use the same character types and storylines, but because of our creativity it’s something new and different. Ish.
cowardice—I want to say this because we don’t always say it. Scar is endearingly sarcastic. He’s smart, funny, and sings one of the best villain songs out there. But Scar is a coward. He backs down the moment he senses defeat. He lays blame on the hyenas instead of owning up to his evil. He says and does anything to avoid conflict and circle back for another opportunity. It’s a tactic that keeps him alive, but alive villains and successful villains are two different things. And a successful Alpha, of all villains, doesn’t abandon his legacy. Ever.
balance—and because of the Circle of Life, good and evil here directly correlate with balance and imbalance in the Pridelands’ ecosystem. Death isn’t inherently evil in this story, but its excess is. Scar asks for an excess of food and control, so the land dies. That he never recognizes and changes his ways makes him such a crippling force, a true villain. His imbalance reigns.
YES, we are going to finish with “Be Prepared.” It is intentionally Hitler-y and green, so treat yourself: