At the end of “Aladdin”, the sultan tells Aladdin that the boy has certainly proven his worth with him and thus will be allowed to marry the princess.
But how on earth did Aladdin prove his worth? How is Aladdin a diamond in the rough? I’ve watched “Aladdin” a lot in the last couple weeks and while he’s certainly likable, he doesn’t do much to prove he’s somehow the only person in the kingdom worthy of entering the Cave of Wonders or becoming the princess’s husband despite being a commoner.
Aladdin starts the movie as a thief. Is he a lovable thief who steals food so he won’t go hungry? Sure. Does he share the food he steals with small children? Yes. None of this changes the fact that he and his monkey spend the first part of the movie stealing food and dodging the law. He also helps the princess dodge the law after she accidentally steals an apple and the store vendor threatens to cut off her hand. Do I agree with this form of punishment for anything? Absolutely not. While I’m glad Aladdin saved Jasmine from losing a hand, he still did it by conning the store owner and fleeing from the law again. It wasn’t exactly admirable behavior.
Aladdin stops being a thief after he gets his hands on the lamp, but he continues his less than ethical behavior. Aladdin spends the entire movie lying and conning people. First he cons the genie into getting him out of the Cave of Wonders without making a wish. Then he cons the kingdom into believing he’s a prince, when really he’s still the same thief he was 15 minutes beforehand. He lies to Jasmine repeatedly about his identity and what he was doing in the marketplace. He allows his pet monkey to suffer in misery as an elephant while he enjoys his con job as a prince.
Aladdin only does three redeeming things the entire movie.
1) He gives bread (that he STOLE) to hungry children.
2) He promises the genie his freedom once he receives his second wish– but then almost doesn’t go through with it. Should he even get credit for this?
3) He helps Jasmine and her father fight evil Jafar. They win when he TRICKS Jafar into wishing he was a genie, thus entrapping him in a lamp.
The rest of the movie, Aladdin is lying, conning and thieving. Almost everything the sultan sees of Aladdin is part of a con job and the sultan learns of it right before he says Aladdin has proven his worth to him.
I really don’t understand it. I think Aladdin is adorable, but I really don’t think he did anything that would qualify him to be considered a diamond in the rough. Maybe if Aladdin had been more truthful about his identity when given the chance, I could see it. But that’s not what happened. I guess proving your worth means you’ve proven you are completely dishonest and untrustworthy. It’s totally ok to be these things if you know how to trick a sinister villain into wishing himself into the trap of being a genie. That proves you should be the future sultan.
At least, that’s what I take away from it.