The Arabian Nights: One Thousand and One Nights

Materialism Versus Freedom: Changes in Value from ‘Ala al-Din to Aladdin College

Originally from The Story of ‘Ala al-Din and the Magic lamp in The Arabian Nights, Aladdin and the story of magic lamp have gained great popularity in the past few years due to various adaptations into films and other media. Among those adaptations, the most well-known one would be Disney’s version of Aladdin. Although employing the same story, the Disney animation is essentially different from the original narratives in The Arabian Nights, mainly in the values conveyed. In a drastic contrast to the materialism depicted in the original story of ‘Ala al-Din, the film Aladdin is centered around the freedom of finding and being oneself. In this paper, I will juxtapose elements in the book and film to illustrate this contrast in values, and I will also analyze the reasons behind the alternations in the Disney adaptation.

The contrasting values in the original story and the film is demonstrated by the differences in growth trajectories of the main character Aladdin. Based on the hero paradigm identified by Joseph Campbell, the “hero” undergoes four main phases: the call, education, journey and return. Although both ‘Ala al-Din in the book and Aladdin in the film complete this trajectory, the differences in the characters’...

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