Why Aladdin might be hard to identify with: No real reason, he’s tremendously lovable.
- A merchant trying to sell us a lamp tells a story: First we see Jafar try to get something from a magical cave, then he says he must find the “diamond in the rough.” Cut to Aladdin who has stolen a piece of bread and leads the guards on a merry chase around the city, singing a song. He gets away with the bread, but decides to give it to some starving kids. He then protects the kids from the whip of a prince going to the palace.
- We begin with a song about his culture and the setting.
- He has a distinctive outfit.
- He has a gap between his exterior and interior: When he’s alone, he sings to himself, “Riff-raff, street rat, I don’t buy that, if only they’d look closer, would they see a poor boy? Nosiree. They’d find out there’s so much more to me.”
- He’s an orphan: The people in the streets say, “I’d blame parents but he hasn’t got ‘em”
- He’s poor: “I steal only what I can’t afford – That’s everything!”
- He’s envious of the prince.
- Needlessly insulted: “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.”
- He falls in unrequited love at first sight.
- He’s great at running away. After he dives off a building and swings down a series of clotheslines, the guards say, “You won’t get away so easy!” and he says, “You think that was easy??”
- He has a reputation. Women think he’s adorable. “He’s rather tasty!”
- He has a resourceful monkey assistant.
- He’s kind: he gives bread he’s stolen away to poor kids.
- He’s badass: He protects kids from being whipped by grabbing the whip away from the prince.
- He’s good at improv with the princess when he has to save her from having her hand cut off. They “yes and” each other.