The Lion King Wiki
The Lion King Wiki
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This article is about the concept.
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Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
Simba: But, Dad, don't we eat the antelope?
Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so, we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
Mufasa and Simba[src]

The Circle of Life (also known as the Great Circle of Life) is an ideology that is held by many creatures of the Pride Lands, among them the royal-blooded rulers of Pride Rock.


The Lion King

You must take your place in the Circle of Life.

The Circle of Life is first mentioned in the opening sequence of the film, during which the concept is introduced as an integral part of the Pride Lands. It is again mentioned by Mufasa when he is teaching his son how to make a good king. In order to help the Pride Lands thrive, a lion must follow the principles of the Circle of Life, respecting all the creatures so that nature can follow its natural course.

Mufasa teaches Simba about the Circle of Life

Scar abandons this principle when he betrays his brother, lays claim to the Pride Lands, and leaves it to the hyenas' mercy. As a consequence, the land undergoes a harsh drought and famine, leaving the Pridelanders practically abandoned in a graveyard. Following this harsh turn of events, Mufasa appears as a ghost before his young adult son, reminding Simba that he must take his place in the Circle of Life in order to restore his homeland. Following his father's orders, Simba returns home and defeats Scar, thus restoring the Pride Lands to their former glory and completing the Circle of Life.

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Simba: If something happened to you, I don't know what I'd do. One day, I won't be here...and I need you to carry on in my place. You are part of the great Circle of-
Kiara: Circle of Life. I know.
Simba and Kiara[src]

In the sequel, Kiara receives the same lesson from her father that Simba received in the first film. She, however, does not show as much interest in becoming a good monarch as her father did. It is hinted that Simba often recounts this lesson to his daughter in order to better guide her in the ways of a queen.

The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa

"Mojave Desserted"

When Pumbaa suggests that he and Timon should rescue Rabbit from drowning in quicksand, Timon tells him that there might soon be multiple rabbits and they would be interfering with the Circle of Life.

"Zazu's Off Day Off"

As Zazu tries to convince Jumbo Jumbo to remove himself from the river he's blocking, he shows the elephant the Standard Jungle Animal Contract he signed, reminding him that he must respect the Circle of Life.

"Once Upon a Timon"

After Timon and Pumbaa escape from Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, Timon tells Pumbaa that the Circle of Life passed before his eyes.

The Lion Guard

The Lion Guard is a group of animals tasked with protecting the Circle of Life and defending the Pride Lands from danger, led by the second-born of the monarch. Traditionally, the Lion Guard consists of the Pride Lands' fiercest, bravest, fastest, strongest, and keenest of sight.

"The Rise of Makuu"

Basi explains about how the crocodiles must only eat fish when there are enough to go wrong. However, Makuu breaks the Circle of Life by attempting to eat fish too early. This results in a conflict between him and Kion.

"Too Many Termites"

After a group of aardwolves are roared into the Outlands, the Pride Lands has a surplus of termites.

"Ono and the Egg"

A harrier hawk invades the Pride Lands to expand her diet.

"The Kilio Valley Fire"

After a fire scorches the elephants' territory, they are forced out.


  • Mufasa's speech to Simba is similar to a quotation from Act. IV, Scene III of Hamlet in which Hamlet says "Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else to fat us and we fat ourselves for maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar are but variable service, two dishes, but to one table: that's the end [...] A man may wish with a worm that hath eat of a king and cat of the fish that hath fed of that worm." The Lion King is loosely based on Hamlet so this is probably deliberate.