Study Guide

Aladdin Society and Class

Society and Class

PEDDLER: I can see that you're only interested in the exceptionally rare. I think then, you would be most rewarded to consider this. Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts. This is no ordinary lamp! It once changed the course of a young man's life. A young man who liked this lamp was more than what he seemed. A diamond in the rough.

This lamp might not look like much, but it's what on the inside that counts. That's not usually how our ideas about society and class work, do they? Well, we think Aladdin is about to prove us all wrong.

CAVE: Who disturbs my slumber?

GAZEEM: It is I, Gazeem, a humble thief.

CAVE: Know this. Only one may enter here. One whose worth lies far within. A diamond in the rough.

JAFAR: What are you waiting for? Go on!

CAVE: Seek thee out, the diamond in the rough.

Settling aside the fact that Gazeem is a murderer and not a "humble thief," even the Cave of Wonders knows you've gotta have something special if you want to go inside and get the lamp. Doesn't matter if you're fancy like Jafar or lowly like Gazeem—if you're not right in your heart, things aren't gonna turn out well for you.

ALADDIN: Gotta eat to live, gotta steal to eat. Otherwise we'd get along!

GUARDS: Wrong!

This is an interesting little side note in Aladdin's tune about stealing. He observes that if he and the guards weren't on different sides of the class divide, they might be friends. The guards aren't super convinced by his logic…or by his singing skills.

PRINCE: Out of my way, you filthy brat!

ALADDIN: Hey, if I were as rich as you, I could afford some manners

PRINCE: Oh, I'll teach you some manners!

ALADDIN: Look at that, Abu. It's not every day you see a horse with two rear ends!

PRINCE: You are a worthless street rat. You were born a street rat, you'll die a street rat, and only your fleas will mourn you.

ALADDIN: I'm not worthless. And I don't have fleas. Come on, Abu. Let's go home.

This rude rich guy kind of gets the last word here. Even though Aladdin is faster and cleverer than he is, the guy knows that he's richer and more powerful. What will Aladdin ever amount to? Nothing. That's what this dude thinks, anyway.

ALADDIN: Riffraff, street rat. I don't buy that. If only they'd look closer. Would they see a poor boy? No siree. They'd find out, there's so much more to me. Someday, Abu, things are gonna change. We'll be rich, live in a palace, and never have any problems at all.

Time to break out the tissues. Aladdin is so much more than his social class. If only people would take the time to see the real him, they'd know how awesome and resourceful he is. Someday they'll all see the truth. Someday…

JASMINE: Oh, you must be hungry. Here you go.

PROPRIETOR: You'd better be able to pay for that.

JASMINE: Pay?

PROPRIETOR: No one steals from my cart!

JASMINE: Oh, I'm sorry sir. I don't have any money.

PROPRIETOR: Thief!

JASMINE: Please, if you let me go to the palace, I can get some from the Sultan.

PROPRIETOR: Do you know what the penalty is for stealing?

JASMINE: No, no please!

Okay, we can't fault Jasmine too much here. She's lived in a palace her entire sheltered life, so how was she supposed to know that money is exchanged for goods and services? Her high-class lifestyle almost loses her a hand when she hits the streets. Luckily, Aladdin comes to the rescue.

GUARD: It's the dungeon for you, boy.

ALADDIN: Hey, get off of me!

JASMINE: Let go of him.

GUARD: Look what we have here, men—a street mouse.

JASMINE: Unhand him, by order of the princess.

GUARD: Princess Jasmine.

ALADDIN: The princess?

ABU: The princess?

GUARD: What are you doing outside the palace? And with this street rat?

JASMINE: That's not your concern. Do as I command. Release him!

GUARD: Well, I would, princess, but my orders come from Jafar. You'll have to take it up with him.

Way to pull rank, Jasmine. After getting a taste of what life is like for the poor folk of Agrabah, the princess decides she doesn't like it one bit. She also doesn't have to take it. She removes her disguise and demands the privileges her class affords her. Aladdin isn't so lucky.

ALADDIN: I'm a fool

OLD MAN: You're only a fool if you give up, boy.

ALADDIN: Who are you?

OLD MAN: A lowly prisoner, like yourself. But together, perhaps we can be more.

ALADDIN: I'm listening.

OLD MAN: There is a cave, boy. A cave of wonders. Filled with treasures beyond your wildest dreams. Treasure enough to impress even your princess, I'd wager […].

ALADDIN: But the law says that only a prince can marry—

OLD MAN: You've heard of the golden rule, haven't you boy? Whoever has the gold makes the rules.

Aladdin's seen enough of life to know that the old man has a point. If he gets enough treasure, he might be able to get closer to Jasmine and have a chance with her. Money can buy you food…and access to the upper class.

JASMINE: Hmm. I'm rich too, you know.

ALADDIN: Yeah!

JASMINE: The daughter of a sultan

ALADDIN: I know.

JASMINE: A fine prize for any prince to marry.

ALADDIN: Uh, right. Right. A prince like me.

GENIE: Warning! Warning!

JASMINE: Right, a prince like you. And every other stuffed shirt, swaggering, peacock I've met!

GENIE: Mayday! Mayday!

JASMINE: Just go jump off a balcony!

ALADDIN: What?

GENIE: Stop her! Stop her! Do you want me to sting her?

ALADDIN: Buzz off!

GENIE: Okay, fine. But remember—bee yourself!

ALADDIN: Yeah, right!

JASMINE: What?!

ALADDIN: Uh, you're right. You aren't just some prize to be won. You should be free to make your own choice. I'll go now.

Aladdin's got Jasmine all wrong. He thinks he needs wealth and social status to win her heart, but she fell in love with the poor kid from the marketplace. She doesn't want some high-class prince who's only after money and power. She wants someone who loves her and respects her for who she is.

ALADDIN: Jasmine, I'm sorry I lied to you about being a prince.

JASMINE: I know why you did.

ALADDIN: Well, I guess this...is goodbye?

JASMINE: Oh, that stupid law. This isn't fair—I love you […].

GENIE: No matter what anybody says, you'll always be a prince to me.

SULTAN: That's right. You've certainly proven your worth as far as I'm concerned. It's that law that's the problem.

JASMINE: Father?

SULTAN: Well, am I sultan or am I sultan? From this day forth, the princess shall marry whomever she deems worthy.

JASMINE: Him! I choose...I choose you, Aladdin.

And this is how you know we're in a fairy tale—in the end, money and class and social status just don't matter. Love conquers all, and everyone lives happily ever after. We're not sure how this would work in real life, but it sure makes for a great Disney movie.