My Side of the Story Scar in The Lion King

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My Side of the Story: Scar in The Lion King

In Disney’s The Lion King, Scar is portrayed as a villain. The film begins by immediately painting him as a ruthless character, one that is focused on power, selfish gains, and personal glory. His life begins in the shadows of his elder brother, Mufasa, and later to Simba, his nephew. He is bitter and angry at the choices made regarding his life, pitting him against his own brother and consequently being exiled out of the family. No one pays attention to him, right from the start. Mufasa, the already crowned future King receives all of the attention, leaving Scar marginalized and bitter. He is forced to seek attention in other ways, and even then, he is ignored and only comes second to his own brother. In adulthood, his brother continues the same line of treatment, focusing on his role as the king. Scar desires to be seen and to be heard, even when this means turning against his own family and blood.

As a former leader of the military-like Lion Guard, Scar’s role as a leader were obvious. He commanded respect and performed his tasks with extreme efficiency. Being marginalized within the Disney society has turned him into an intelligent and always-on-the-defence individual. He is always ready for a confrontation and has his claws extended at all times. He is aware of his poor genetics and takes pride in being different. Marginalization, according to Duchak (72), leads to an urge for power and attention. These two are some of the consequences of Scar’s lonely and isolated adulthood. He was not always angry, resentful, greedy, and jealous. These qualities were brought out by the powerful cobra bite. At the time, he had no one to talk to and he could only deal with his pain and loss of strength alone. Emerging out of the experience stronger, Scar begins to look out only for himself, to create the best outcome for his own life, to put his interests first, and to march forward with the knowledge that he had no one else to turn to for help.

The marginalized and deviant positions in the constructed Disney society fails to mention the role of every other character in Scar’s life that contributed to shaping him as an antagonist. This should be better mentioned because Scar was a very different character in his youthful days. He was a revered leader, a loyal servant, and an efficient manager in the Lion Guard. He executed his role with minimal effort, commanding other lions and delivering results. He was aware of the command chain and respected it. Yet, he was left out of decisions, was made to feel unequal, and was never appreciated for his efforts in keeping the kingdom safe. The sort of treatment he received created an atmosphere of resentment, disgust, and loathing to his brother and the nephew who was already crowned as the next King even before he could walk. He sees the world differently from what the Disney society portrays. First, he is all alone and left to fend for himself. After his role as a Lion Guard leader expired, he was left without a position of power, despite being of royal blood. He therefore seeks all of the elements that were never accorded to him, despite his success: respect, obedience, power, authority, and control. He was tired of always coming second, being compared to his successful brother, rejection, criticism, incompetence, disrespect, and failure.

In the eyes of the lion kingdom, Scar has weaker genes and therefore disabled. He cannot be the king with such notable qualities. He is excluded from leadership on the basis of inequality, biasness, and discrimination. All his life, the society had ignored him and never took the time to understand who he is as a leader and as an individual. He grew up always coming second to his more abled brother. Mufasa, in contrast, has the right genes. He is the “right” leader in the eyes of the society because he fits the societal constructs of what is required. He is not dark, weak, or of a frail appearance compared to his brother Scar. These characteristics and qualifications are open for every one to see. They create a low sense of self-esteem in Scar because they are mentioned from a very early age. Hurley (221) talks about self-image and how it affects young ones in ways they see themselves in relation to what the society constructs. Scar carries some lifetime scars inflicted upon him by the very society he fights to protect. He is openly discriminated and expected to take the treatment with his mouth shut while laying down. If Scar could retell his story, he would talk about the open discrimination, the unappreciative nature of his lion family, how his appearances and shortcomings were used against him, the manner in which “good” and “bad” genes determined the next leaders, and how effort and merit were awarded on the basis of a bias outlook. He is right to be angry and resentful. The discrimination against him due to his appearance and genes, things he had no control over, was uncalled for and a reason to become tougher in order to survive.

Scar is angered by the way Mufasa’s looks, age, and appearance give him an edge over him as the next leader and the favorite to rule the Pride Lands. Mufasa and Scar are brothers, yet the poor treatment that Scar continues to receive in comparison to his brother teaches them both to discriminate. Lippi-Green (79) discusses the role of society in creating a spirit of discrimination. No individual is born biased or with a desire to discriminate. These are elements that are inculcated in societies using the culture, popular belief, and actions. They are easily reflected on the next generation who inherit stereotypes, biases, and other discriminatory views on different matter. Scar was a victim of such a society. The privileged position held by Mufasa made Scar an automatic failure. He was viewed as a lesser lion, despite possessing abilities and leadership qualities that were not very evident in his brother. Scar’s bitterness is arguably understandable seeing that he was discriminated on the basis of a more privileged brother.

The deviant identity that defined Scar led to him being labeled an outlaw, the antagonist, coldhearted, and wicked. Overcome by the demands of the society and always being in the shadow of his brother, he intelligently plots for the elimination of the latter and assumes control of the kingdom, albeit short lived. Upon the return of the young Simba, he is forced into exile, partly as a strategy to plot for another hostile takeover and partly because of Scar’s need to regroup. His nature as a less-attractive and least likely to rule pushes him to the edge. He believes that he was unfairly left out of the reigns of power. He opposes the leadership of his brother and that of the younger Simba. He sees the two as the main reasons why he could not become a legitimate king. He associates all of his childhood issues with the selection of Mufasa and Simba as kings over him. He uses any means necessary to remain in power and to defeat the inner emotional and psychological issues that emerge as a result of years of playing second fiddle to a much talented brother and nephew. His inferiority complex is a direct result of the society’s construct regarding what a leader is supposed to look like and what he should possess. The discrimination based on his genes and brute strength haunts him and has, inadvertently, created a monster. He uses his intelligence to plot and execute in ways that no other lion is able to comprehend. Ultimately, even in isolation and exile, he remains a threat to the Pride Lands throne. He is giving the protagonists a taste of the bitter treatment and living in constant fear, elements that have been present in all of Scar’s life.

In conclusion, Scar’s story would be very different from what Disney has created and disbursed to the whole world. He is judged as a coldhearted murderer and a power-hungry menace, yet all he wanted was to be accepted as a legit member of the society. The society has created and fueled a monstrous individual, one who is angry, bitter, resentful, and does not understand why all others are presented as holy and unblemished. Scar’s thoughts on the society he was alienated from would be in the lines of an ungrateful and evidently discriminatory group. He remembers the days he fought faithfully to keep the entire Pride Lands safe. He is quick to retell of his loyal service to the throne without complaint. He waited patiently for his turn to be a leader and performed his roles as expected. Now, the very society he fought for sees him as a menace. The bold presence of a discriminatory and an unequal system of leadership has risen to a point that it does not care who is hurt in the process.


Duchak, Oksana. “Marginalization of young people in society.” International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences 18 (2014): 70-79.

Hurley, Dorothy L. “Seeing white: Children of color and the Disney fairy tale princess.” The Journal of Negro Education (2005): 221-232.

Lippi-Green, Rosina. English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States. Routledge, 1997.