|“||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.
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.
Scar abandons this principle when he leaves the Pride Lands 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 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.
|“||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.
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 Guard is a group of animals tasked with the job of protecting the Circle of Life and defending the Pride Lands from danger, led by the second-born cub of the monarch. Traditionally, the Lion Guard consists of the Pride Lands' fiercest, bravest, fastest, strongest and keenest of sight.
- Mufasa's speech to Simba calls to mind 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 partly based on Hamlet so this is probably deliberate.