Orientalism In Aladdin

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By exploring the Orientalist vocabulary in Disney’s Aladdin (dir. Clements and Musker, 1992), this essay argues that such stereotypical representations are harmful because they naturalise (Lacey, 2009, p. 139) a simplified, Orientalist view of the countries considered a part of “the Orient.” Aladdin successfully targets a General audience (The Classification and Rating Administration, 2015) (Motion Picture Association of America, 2015) of mostly North Americans and Europeans, judging by its Blu-ray release in European countries in 2013 with a popularity rating of 98% (Blu-ray.com, 2013), and a Diamond Edition Blu-ray release planned for October, 2015 (Taylor, 2015) (Cerasaro, 2015). The opening sequence of Aladdin, consisting of the song “Arabian Nights”, is a collection of Arab Orientalist stereotypes that sets up the fictitious city of ‘Agrabah’ as a “faraway place” where the “caravans roam” in the “immense” desert. Lines such as, “It’s barbaric, but—hey!—it’s home,” “Hop a carpet and fly,” and “A fool off his guard could fall, and fall hard,” complete the stereotypical Orientalist picture of the apparently Near East setting. Agrabah is little more than an amalgam of Orientalist stereotypes with its confusing, maze-like streets that are broken, filthy, and in disrepair, inhabited by poor people (Hall, 1999, p. 277), while the Sultan lives in a splendid palace, bringing to mind notions of despotic Oriental rulers (Said, 1978, p. 203). The first character to be introduced

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