The Lion King and parallels with Egyptian Mythology.

Scar kills his brother Mufasa.

I recently re-watched the classic 1994 Disney film The Lion King and I noticed many parallels between the film and Egyptian mythology more specifically the conflict between Seth and his brother Osiris and the Contending's of Horus and Seth. I don’t know if this was intended by the writers of the film or not but I find the parallels with these two stories and with the Lion King to be quite fascinating.

In Egyptian mythology the god of storms, chaos and disorder Seth becomes jealous of his brother Osiris, the god of vegetation and the afterlife because he wants to sit upon the throne of Egypt even though it is the rightful position of Osiris. Seth hatches a plan to kill Osiris by cutting up his body into pieces and scattering them all over the Nile river. He succeeds in doing this. The sister of both Seth and Osiris (as well as Osiris’ wife) finds all of her husbands body parts and uses her magic to restore her husbands body but only partially which allows him to posthumously conceive their son Horus. Osiris now not having a full body becomes king of the underworld and the afterlife. Isis hides baby Horus from his uncle Seth as she is aware that Seth will view him as a threat to take the throne and possibly kill him. The story continues with Horus as an adult challenging Seth for the throne of Egypt. After many intense battles, some gay sex as well as both parties losing a body part at the hands of the other, Horus finally defeats Seth and becomes king of Egypt. Seth becomes outcasted from Egypt after this which is how he came to be associated with foreign lands and foreign gods.

Osiris (Mufasa) with his son Horus (Simba)

In The Lion King Mufasa is the leader and king of Pride Rock. His young son Simba is next in line to line to be king but his brother Scar is jealous of him and kills him leading to Scar becoming the new king of pride rock. Scar is a terrible ruler and after many years a now grown up Simba leads a charge to defeat his malevolent uncle Scar and regain his position as king. The parallels between Scar and Set both being the brothers of Mufasa and Osiris are interesting as well as the fact that Scar was well acquainted with the hyenas and hyenas were considered an animal of Set in ancient Egypt as well animals representing filth and mischief in many African mythologies…both of those attributes also being attributes of Set. Set and Scar represent darkness. Specifically within these stories it is symbolized by the darkness and chaos that falls over kingdoms that they rule. Scar kills his brother Mufasa similarly to how Set kills his brother Osiris. Set/Scar then turn their attention on the next person they know can uproot them: Their nephew.

Both Horus and Set bless and ordain the pharaoh of Egypt.

Horus eventually grows up from under his mother Isis and sets off to usurp his uncle from the throne of Egypt who he deems unworthy to have the title. He succeeds after a long fight and Set is banished becoming the god of foreigners and deserts. In The Lion King we watch Simba grow up from being a child to a fully grown adult and defeat his uncle Scar who lives in the Shadow Lands where all the “low creatures” like the hyenas live. Both Set and Scar are the archetype of the jealous outcast or outsider. Set however was still was treated with respect after this story in ancient Egypt. As pharaohs of the new United Kingdom of Egypt would wear the combined crown of both upper and lower Egypt representing both Horus and Set and the pharaohs were shown in artwork being ordained into the monarchy also by both Horus and Set.

Regardless of if the classic tale of The Lion King is in any way related to the quite literally ancient battle between Horus and Set I still find this connection fascinating. Both these stories originate from the African continent and if there is something I know about African stories and mythology is that it is always meant to teach us something. Using archetypes to teach us about our own nature. To help one know thyself. If intended or not either way the connection is there and it’s one I’ve never seen discussed…until now.

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