Study Guide

The Lion King Scar (Jeremy Irons)

Scar (Jeremy Irons)

Dripping with sarcasm and cynicism, Scar is the typical Disney villain: we love to hate him, and whenever he does something, we can't look away. Voiced by the incomparable Jeremy Irons, Scar is an inexplicably British-accented lion who hates his family and loves power.

He is a liar, a manipulator, and very likely a sociopath. He's also super fun to watch in action.

A Most Disappointing Turn of Events

When we first meet Scar, he's moping around in his modest cave, refusing to attend the presentation ceremony of his newborn nephew. Is he sick? Hungover? Agoraphobic?

No—he's just jealous that Simba is now successor to the throne:

"I was first in line … until the little hairball was born." 

Boo hoo. He's so jealous that he has bribed an army of overzealous hyenas to do his dirty business.

Over the course of Simba's cubhood, Scar tries a total of three times to kill him. The first time, he convinces Simba to travel to an elephant graveyard where Scar has arranged for some hyenas to kill him. When Simba escapes the hyenas, Scar tries again: he attempts to kill both Simba and Mufasa with a massive wildebeest stampede. Simba survives, but Mufasa perishes.

Scar almost always relies on deceit and brute force to get what he wants. Blaming Simba for Mufasa's death, Scar tells Simba to flee into exile and then orders the hyenas to murder him. Once again, Simba manages to escape. Unbeknownst to Scar, of course.

The Once and Future Scumbag

After Simba's (presumed) death, Scar informs the other lions that he's assuming the role of king of the Pride Lands. He wants to usher in a warm and fuzzy new era of cooperation between hyenas and lions. And provide his subjects with plenty of food. And other king stuff.

Not surprisingly (perhaps because he's a chronic liar and manipulator?), he fails to make good on any of his promises. Scar basically drives the Pride Lands into the ground, squandering resources and leaving his subjects to go hungry. Before long, Simba returns to the Pride Lands to reclaim the throne. Caught off-guard, Scar tries to turn the other lions against Simba by making him admit that he killed his father:

"Well, Simba, now's your chance to tell them. Tell them who's responsible for Mufasa's death!" 

Except there's one problem with that: just as Scar is about to kill Simba himself, he tells Simba the truth about who killed Mufasa.

Empowered by the truth, Simba puts up a fight. Ever the liar, Scar tries to blame his weak leadership on the hyenas, who overhear and become angry. This doesn't exactly serve him well when Simba defeats him and he's thrown into a pit with those very same hyenas. Because they're hungry. And Scar … well, he's Scar.

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