Atonement means to offer payment for a wrongdoing. Very often, heroes must avenge a father or make up for the father's evil. William Wallace's revolt was driven in part to avenge his father's death in the war with England. Indeed, the father's ghost haunts Wallace's dreams throughout the movie. Moses' "father," Yahweh, doesn't allow Moses into the Promised Land as a way of Moses atoning for his doubt, a situation that reverses the traditional atonement by the hero for the father.

The spirit of Mumfasa, Simba's father, tells Simba to be strong and assume his place on the throne. Simba, who has been reluctant up to this point to return to his kingdom, realizes he has little choice but to avenge his father's murder.

Atonement with Father

Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon, is unscrupulous and lustful. He uses his power to satisfy his personal urges, fathering Arthur deceitfully with a woman under a spell of Merlin that makes her think Uther is her husband. He looks a bit on the evil side, doesn't he? His father's evil legacy puts Arthur in a position to atone for his father's sins and be a good king, helping his people with selfless service.

Luke's ultimate quest is rescuing his father from the evil of the Dark Side. Here, Luke consoles his dying father after his father saves Luke and atones for his own past by killing the Emperor, the leader of the Empire. Much like Arthur, Luke chooses to be good, the opposite of what the father chose, and therefore atones for the father's sins.