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Copy of Timon and Pumbaa / Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

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Iris Wan

on 12 February 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Timon and Pumbaa / Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

Timon and Pumbaa vs. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in
Shakespeare's Hamlet, Timon and Pumbaa
are Simba's best friends and confidantes.
There are similarities and differences between
the pairs, but Timon and Pumbaa play a role
in The Lion King that's very close to Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern's part as catalysts for Hamlet's
revenge in the original play. Whether they
know it or not, Timon and Pumbaa play an
important role in sparking Simba's quest for vengeance against Scar.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are often tied to
ideas about existentialism and everyone being
"the hero of their own story." Timon and Pumbaa
obviously view themselves this way: they look
at the stars and voice their opinions, and make
fun of what the other thinks. The fact that they
question nature at all suggests some kind of
existentialism, and their stubbornness hints at
the "main character" idea.

In Hamlet, however,
Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern work for
Claudius, feeding him
information about
Hamlet's plans. Timon
and Pumbaa aren't
linked to Scar in any
way in The Lion King, and fight him alongside Simba in the movie's final battle. This is one of the most obvious differences, but it makes sense to leave it out of a movie aimed at younger children, where betrayal by one's best friends might be a bit much.
(Explicit references to Nazism,
however, are totally fine.)
One of the most important functions
both pairs serve is to show what the
tragic hero is like when he's away from
the duties of royalty and the strain of
bloodthirsty revenge. Timon and Pumbaa
literally travel with Simba away from the
Pridelands, but Rosencrantz and Guilden-
stern just serve as reminders of Hamlet's
life away from the craziness of Elsinore,
away at school just hanging out with his
friends. Being with both duos humanizes
the stories' heroes and develops their
Timon and Pumbaa also offer
Simba another escape from the
pressures of royalty: Hakuna Matata.
As he defensively explains to Nala,
his belief in Hakuna Matata
relieves him of any responsibilities to
the Pridelands. Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern themselves don't offer
this kind of escape, but they represent
a time when Hamlet could get out of
Denmark and goof off at school.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's presence alone doesn't spark Hamlet into exacting revenge on his murderous uncle/stepfather, but his knowledge of their deceit leads him to lash out against both the two of them and Claudius. Similarly, Simba doesn't really consider fighting Scar for control of the Pridelands until Timon and Pumbaa prod him about his past. The memories he returns to are what ultimately motivates him to defeat Scar: memories of his father, and the injustice done to him by his brother (much like Hamlet's literal haunting by the ghost of his dead father). Only because of Timon and Pumbaa does Simba take action.
In the end, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are essentially just more complex versions of Timon and Pumbaa. The latter pair exists to push Simba forward (into fulfilling his destiny as heir to the Prideland throne), and the former to do the same, but in a more complex and backwards way. Some of the philosophy is the same, but there's a more nefarious (and, honestly, less likeable and more pathetic) side to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. That's probably why one duo is featured in a Shakespeare play and the other in a Disney movie.
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