The Lion King and Rhetoric (2024)

The other day, I went to the movies to see The Lion King 3D. Having been introduced to rhetoric, I found that I noticed it in the movie during the scene when Scar is talking to Simba about the place that his father had forbidden him to enter. Scar uses an effective rhetorical strategy to get Simba to disobey Mufasa’s orders and go to the forbidden lands.

He considers his audience, a young lion, desperate to prove himself to the kingdom and, most importantly, his father. When Simba tells him about the forbidden lands, and about how Mufasa will not let him go there, he states that, “he’s absolutely right! It’s far too dangerous. Only the bravest lions go there.” This form of ethos makes Simba believe that Scar is brave and mighty because he has been to the forbidden lands, where only the bravest lions go. He also uses pathos on the young boy to belittle him and make him feel like everyone thinks that he is not brave like his hero, his father. This makes Simba want to go to the forbidden lands to prove that he is brave.

Scar also knows that, being a child, Simba is very curious and wants to go on adventures and see the world. So Scar tricks Simba into thinking that the forbidden lands house an elephant graveyard, saying that he accidently spilled that secret, and that he has said too much. He then tells Simba that it’ll be their little secret, so Simba won’t tell anyone else that he told him what was supposedly down there. This also makes Simba feel special because he is able to have special secret with Scar.

The last thing that Scar tells Simba before he run off to secretly go to the forbidden lands is, “Well I suppose you would have found out sooner or later, you being so clever and all.” This really gives Simba a false confidence boost, making him feel like he can do anything, including going to see the elephant graveyard.

Simba is desperate to prove to everyone that he is brave and special, just like his father. Scar knows this and uses it to his advantage, in an attempt to kill Simba to have a chance to be king of Pride Rock.

The Lion King and Rhetoric (2024)
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