Hero’s Journey and Mythic Pattern in the Story of Aladdin
Like many Walt Disney films, Aladdin has stood the test of time. With iconic characters and an enticing plot, the movie draws you in and takes you on a journey. The journey in Aladdin is not just any regular journey, but it in fact follows “The Hero’s Journey Mythic Pattern” derived from professor and author Joseph Campbell’s work. After a brief plot summary of the film, I’ll be going into detail about how Aladdin follows Step One: The Ordinary World and Step Two: The Call to Adventure of the Hero’s Journey Mythic Pattern.
At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Aladdin who lives on the streets of Agrabah but wishes to be a rich prince. Meanwhile in her palace, the Princess Jasmine is upset due to her lack of freedom and that her father The Sultan is insisting that she choose a prince to marry. That night Jasmine sneaks out of the palace and goes into the town market in disguise, where she meets Aladdin. Due to a big mix-up Aladdin is thrown into jail where he meets the Sultans evil advisor Jafar, who needs a “diamond in the rough” to retrieve a magical lamp from the “Cave of Wonders”.
Aladdin enters the cave and finds a magic carpet and the lamp which he rubs and meets the Genie, who explains is able to grant him 3 wishes. Aladdin decides to use these wishes to gain the affections of the Princess Jasmine, whom he has fallen in love with. His first wish it to be a prince, and he returns to Agrabah as “Prince Ali” with an ostentatious assemblage in order to impress Jasmine. The Princess is not impressed by the show, but afterwards Aladdin gains her affection by taking her on a magic carpet ride. Jasmine is falling in love but is suspicious that Prince Ali may actually be the boy Aladdin she met in the market. Afterwards, Aladdin is captured and almost killed by Jafar, who is scheming to marry Jasmine in order to become Sultan. Genie comes to Aladdin’s rescue by using his second wish to save him. Aladdin is becoming increasingly nervous as a result of lying about his identity, which Jafar has discovered. He’s also stressed that only one wish remains, which he had promised to use to set the Genie free but now needs in order to reach his goal. Jafar steals the lamp and uses his first wish to become Sultan of Agrabah, and then uses his second wish to become the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Jafar reveals Aladdin’s true identity to Jasmine and her father, and then banishes him. Aladdin manages to return to save Jasmine and her father, and taunts Jafar that he’ll never be as powerful as the Genie. Jafar then makes his third and final wish, to become the most powerful Genie in the world, not realizing that in doing so he becomes prisoner to the lamp. Jafar is then defeated, and Aladdin uses his final wish to free the Genie as he promised. Jasmines father The Sultan changes the law so that Jasmine may marry a non-prince is she chooses, and she chooses Aladdin. All is well.
The Ordinary World
The first step that relates to the film is “The Ordinary World”. This step shows who our hero really is and what their everyday life is like before their adventure begins. This is portrayed by Aladdin’s introduction in the film, with a day that starts off like any other for him. He is on the streets of Agrabah with his monkey Abu, and they’re trying to steal a loaf of bread. Guards spot them and then chased the duo all around the market. The pair manages to get away but give away their hard-earned bread to two hungry children. Aladdin then encounters a prince parading through town on his horse who declares that Aladdin is just a “worthless street rat”, which emphasizes just how plain and unremarkable Aladdin’s life is. Aladdin tells Abu that one day things will be different, which alludes to the journey that awaits them. This scene showcases just what a modest and routine life Aladdin lives, and demonstrates his true character. Aladdin steals but that doesn’t make him immoral, which is shown when he gifts the stolen bread to the two hungry children instead of keeping it for himself. Although he’s hungry and worked hard to get the bread, Aladdin is noble and does what is right.
The Call to Adventure
The second hero’s pattern step in the film is The Call to Adventure, which is demonstrated through Jafar in disguise seeking out Aladdin to retrieve the Lamp from the Cave of Wonders. The Call to Adventure is established when the hero is introduced to their quest. This is the point where the hero has to choose whether they want to ignore the quest and remain dissatisfied in their everyday life or accept and possibly change their life forever. Aladdin is approached by Jafar in disguise whist being held in prison, and Jafar strikes a deal with him. Aladdin will enter the Cave of Wonders and retrieve the treasure Jafar seeks, and in return all the treasure and riches will be shared amongst the two of them. This Call to Adventure is something Aladdin barely needs to consider, since his whole life he’s wanted to be wealthy.