Aladdin (//; Arabic: علاء الدين, ʻAlāʼ ud-Dīn/ ʻAlāʼ ad-Dīn, IPA: [ʕalaːʔ adˈdiːn], ATU 561, ‘Aladdin') is a folk tale of Middle Eastern origin. Despite not being part of the original Arabic text, it is one of the best known tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights). It was added to the collection in the 18th century by the Frenchman Antoine Galland, who acquired the tale from Syrian Maronite storyteller Hanna Diyab. In any case, since it first appeared, "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" has been one of the best known and most retold of all fairy tales.
- 1 Sources
- 2 Plot summary
- 3 Setting
- 4 Adaptations
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Known along with Ali Baba as one of the "orphan tales", the story was not part of the original Nights collection and has no authentic Arabic textual source, but was incorporated into the book Les mille et une nuits by its French translator, Antoine Galland.
John Payne quotes passages from Galland's unpublished diary: recording Galland's encounter with a Syrian Maronite storyteller from Aleppo, Hanna Diyab. According to Galland's diary, he met with Hanna, who had travelled from Aleppo to Paris with celebrated French traveller Paul Lucas, on March 25, 1709. Galland's diary further reports that his transcription of "Aladdin" for publication occurred in the winter of 1709–10. It was included in his volumes ix and x of the Nights, published in 1710, without any mention or published acknowledgment of Hanna's contribution.
Payne also records the discovery in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris of two Arabic manuscripts containing Aladdin (with two more of the "interpolated" tales). One was written by a Syrian Christian priest living in Paris, named Dionysios Shawish, alias Dom Denis Chavis. The other is supposed to be a copy Mikhail Sabbagh made of a manuscript written in Baghdad in 1703. It was purchased by the Bibliothèque Nationale at the end of the nineteenth century. As part of his work on the first critical edition of the Nights, Iraq's Muhsin Mahdi has shown that both these manuscripts are forgeries—"back-translations" of Galland's text into Arabic.
The story is often "re-told" with variations. The following is a précis of the Burton translation of 1885.
Aladdin is an impoverished young ne'er-do-well, dwelling in "one of the cities of China". He is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb, who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin's late father, Mustapha the tailor, convincing Aladdin and his mother of his good will by pretending to set up the lad as a wealthy merchant. The sorcerer's real motive is to persuade young Aladdin to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave. After the sorcerer attempts to double-cross him, Aladdin finds himself trapped in the cave. Aladdin is still wearing a magic ring the sorcerer has lent him. When he rubs his hands in despair, he inadvertently rubs the ring and a jinnī (or "genie") appears who releases him from the cave, allowing him to return to his mother while in possession of the lamp. When his mother tries to clean the lamp, so they can sell it to buy food for their supper, a second far more powerful genie appears who is bound to do the bidding of the person holding the lamp.
With the aid of the genie of the lamp, Aladdin becomes rich and powerful and marries Princess Badroulbadour, the sultan's daughter (after magically foiling her marriage to the vizier's son). The genie builds Aladdin and his bride a wonderful palace, far more magnificent than the sultan's.
The sorcerer hears of Aladdin's good fortune, and returns; he gets his hands on the lamp by tricking Aladdin's wife (who is unaware of the lamp's importance) by offering to exchange "new lamps for old". He orders the genie of the lamp to take the palace, along with all its contents, to his home in the Maghreb. Aladdin still has the magic ring and is able to summon the lesser genie. The genie of the ring cannot directly undo any of the magic of the genie of the lamp, but he is able to transport Aladdin to the Maghreb where, with the help of the "woman's wiles" of the princess he recovers the lamp and slays the sorcerer, returning the palace to its proper place.
The sorcerer's more powerful and evil brother plots to destroy Aladdin for killing his brother by disguising himself as an old woman known for her healing powers. Badroulbadour falls for his disguise and commands the "woman" to stay in her palace in case of any illnesses. Aladdin is warned of this danger by the genie of the lamp and slays the impostor.
Aladdin eventually succeeds to his father-in-law's throne.
The opening sentences of the story, in both the Galland and the Burton versions, set it in "one of the cities of China". On the other hand, there is practically nothing in the rest of the story that is inconsistent with a Middle Eastern setting. For instance, the ruler is referred to as "Sultan" rather than being called the "Emperor", as in some re-tellings, and the people in the story are Muslims and their conversation is larded with devout Muslim platitudes. A Jewish merchant buys Aladdin's wares (and incidentally cheats him), but there is no mention of Buddhists or Confucians (or other distinctively Chinese people).
Notably, ethnic groups in Chinese history have long included Muslim groups, including large populations of Uighurs, and the Hui people whose origins go back to Silk Road travelers. Islamic communities have been known to exist in the region since the Tang Dynasty. Some have suggested that the intended setting may be Turkestan (encompassing Central Asia and the modern Chinese province of Xinjiang in Western China).
For all this, speculation about a "real" Chinese setting depends on a knowledge of China that the teller of a folk tale (as opposed to a geographic expert) might well not possess.
Adaptations vary in their faithfulness to the original story. In particular, difficulties with the Chinese setting are sometimes resolved by giving the story a more typical Arabian Nights background.
- One of the many literary retellings of the tale appears in A Book of Wizards (1966) and A Choice of Magic (1971), by Ruth Manning-Sanders.
- "The Nobility of Faith" by Jonathan Clements in the anthology Doctor Who Short Trips: The Ghosts of Christmas (2007) is a retelling of the Aladdin story in the style of the Arabian Nights, but featuring the Doctor in the role of the genie.
The traditional Aladdin pantomime is the source of the well-known pantomime character Widow Twankey (Aladdin's mother). In pantomime versions, changes in the setting and story are often made to fit it better into "China" (albeit a China situated in the East End of London rather than Medieval Baghdad), and elements of other Arabian Nights tales (in particular Ali Baba) are often introduced into the plot. One version of the "pantomime Aladdin" is Sandy Wilson's musical Aladdin, from 1979.
Since the early 1990s Aladdin pantomimes have tended to be influenced by the Disney animation. For instance, the 2007/8 production at the Birmingham Hippodrome starring John Barrowman featured songs from the Disney movies Aladdin and Mulan.
Other musical theatre
- The New Aladdin was a successful Edwardian musical comedy in 1906.
- Adam Oehlenschläger wrote his verse drama Aladdin in 1805. Carl Nielsen wrote incidental music for this play in 1918–19. Ferruccio Busoni set some verses from the last scene of Oehlenschläger's Aladdin in the last movement of his Piano Concerto, Op. 39.
- In 1958, a musical comedy version of Aladdin was written especially for US television with a book by S. J. Perelman and music and lyrics by Cole Porter. A London stage production followed in 1959 in which a 30-year-old Bob Monkhouse played the part of Aladdin at the Coliseum Theatre.
- Broadway Junior has released Aladdin Jr., a children's musical based on the music and screenplay of the Disney animation.
- The Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular musical stage show ran in Disney California Adventure from January 2003 to January 10, 2016.
- Starkid Productions released the musical "Twisted" on YouTube in 2013, an Aladdin spin-off that is told from the royal vizier's point of view.
- A Disney Theatrical Production of Aladdin opened in 2011 in Seattle, in Toronto in 2013, and on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014.
- Aladdin; Prince Street Players version; book by Jim Eiler; Music by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy; Lyrics by Jim Eiler.
- The 1926 animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (the earliest surviving animated feature film) combined the story of Aladdin with that of the prince. In this version the princess Aladdin pursues is Achmed's sister and the sorcerer is his rival for her hand. The sorcerer steals the castle and the princess through his own magic and then sets a monster to attack Aladdin, from which Achmed rescues him. Achmed then informs Aladdin he requires the lamp to rescue his own intended wife, Princess Pari Banou, from the demons of the Island of Wak Wak. They convince the Witch of the Fiery Mountain to defeat the sorcerer, and then all three heroes join forces to battle the demons.
- The 1938 animated film Have You Got Any Castles?, Aladdin makes a brief appearance asking for help but was punched by one of the Three Musketeers.
- Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp is a 1939 Popeye the Sailor cartoon.
- The 1959 animated film 1001 Arabian Nights starring Mr. Magoo as Aladdin's uncle and produced by UPA.
- The animated feature Aladdin et la lampe merveilleuse by Film Jean Image was released in 1970 in France. The story contains many of the original elements of the story as compared to the Disney version.
- Aladdin and the Magic Lamp was a rendition in Japanese directed by Yoshikatsu Kasai, produced in Japan by Toei Animation and released in United States by The Samuel Goldwyn Company in 1982.
- Aladdin, the 1992 animated feature by Walt Disney Feature Animation (possibly currently the best known re-telling of the story). In this version several characters are renamed or amalgamated. For instance the Sorcerer and the Sultan's vizier become one character named Jafar while the Princess is re-named Jasmine. They have new motivations for their actions. The Genie of the Lamp only grants three wishes and desires freedom from his role. A sentient magic carpet replaces the ring's genie while Jafar uses a royal magic ring to find Aladdin. The names "Jafar" and "Abu", the Sultan's delight in toys, and their physical appearances are borrowed from the 1940 film, The Thief of Bagdad. The setting is moved from China to the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah and the structure of the plot is simplified.
- Aladdin by Golden Films was released directly on video in 1992.
- Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1917), directed by Chester M. Franklin and Sidney A. Franklin and released by the Fox Film Corporation, told the story using child actors.
- The 1940 British movie The Thief of Bagdad borrows elements of the Aladdin story, although it also departs from the original story fairly freely: for instance the genie grants only three wishes and the minor character of the Emperor's vizier is renamed Jaffar and becomes the main villain, replacing the sorcerer from the original plot.
- A Thousand and One Nights (1945) is a tongue-in-cheek Technicolor fantasy film set in the Baghdad of the One Thousand and One Nights, starring Cornel Wilde as Aladdin, Evelyn Keyes as the genie of the magic lamp, Phil Silvers as Aladdin's larcenous sidekick, and Adele Jergens as the princess Aladdin loves.
- In 1957, the story of Aladdin was produced as a movie in Telugu entitled Allauddin Adhbhuta Deepam, Tamil Allavudeenum Arputha Vilakkum and Hindi Alladdin Ka Chirag. They were directed by T. R. Raghunath and produced by T. S. Balaiah.
- In the 1960s Bollywood produced Aladdin and Sinbad, very loosely based on the original, in which the two named heroes get to meet and share in each other's adventures. In this version, the lamp's jinni (genie) is female and Aladdin marries her rather than the princess (she becomes a mortal woman for his sake).
- A Soviet film Volshebnaia Lampa Aladdina ("Aladdin's Magic Lamp") was released in 1966.
- A 1967 TV movie was based on the Prince Street Players stage musical.
- A Mexican production, Pepito y la Lampara Maravillosa was made en 1972, where comedian Chabelo plays the role of the Genie who grant wishes to a young kid called Pepito in 1970s Mexico City.
- Adventures of Aladdin (1978), a Bollywood film.
- A Malayalam film Allauddinum Albhutha Vilakkum was made in 1979. This film was remade in Tamil as Allaudinaum Arputha Vilakkum the same year.
- Gary Wong and Rob Robson produced Aladdin the Rock Panto in 1985.
- In 1986, an Italian-American co-production (under supervision of Golan-Globus) of a modern-day Aladdin was filmed in Miami under the title Superfantagenio, starring actor Bud Spencer as the genie and his daughter Diamante as the daughter of a police sergeant.
- A 1990 TV movie was based on the Prince Street Players stage musical.
- 2009 saw the release of the Hindi Bollywood retelling in the film Aladin.
- The New Adventures of Aladdin, France modern retelling of the tale of Aladdin.
- Ashchorjyo Prodeep, a 2013 Bengali film based on the same story of a middle class man (played by Saswata Chatterjee) who accidentally finds a magic lamp containing a Jinn (played by Rajatava Dutta). This Anik Dutta film is based on a Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay novel of the same name and deals with the issues of consumerism.
- Syfy released a made-for-TV horror adaptation called Aladdin and the Death Lamp on September 15, 2012.
- Aladin Saha Puduma Pahana was released in 2018 in Sri Lanka in Sinhala language.
- Alad’2, second sequel to the French movie The New Adventures of Aladdin (2018).
- Adventures of Aladdin (2019), a mockbuster produced by The Asylum.
- Aladdin, a Disney live-action remake of the 1992 animated film, released in 2019. It stars Mena Massoud as the title character, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, and Will Smith as the Genie.
- Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, an episode of Rabbit Ears Productions' We All Have Tales series, televised on PBS in 1991, featuring John Hurt as narrator, with illustrations by Greg Couch and music by Mickey Hart. This version is set in Isfahan, Persia, and closely follows the original plot, including the origin of the sorcerer. The audiobook version was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children in 1994.
- Aladdin - Naam Toh Suna Hoga, a live-action Indian television show on SAB TV starring Siddharth Nigam as Aladdin and Avneet Kaur.
- Aladdin appeared in episode 297 of Sesame Street performed by Frank Oz. This version was made from a large lavender live-hand Anything Muppet.
- A segment of the Marty Feldman episode of The Muppet Show retells the story of Aladdin with The Great Gonzo in the role of Aladdin and Marty Feldman playing the Genie of the Lamp.
- In 1986, the program Faerie Tale Theatre based an episode on the story called "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp", directed by Tim Burton and starring Robert Carradine as Aladdin and James Earl Jones as both the ring Genie and the lamp Genie.
- Aladdin, an animated series produced by Walt Disney that ran from 1994-1995.
- Aladdin featured in an episode of Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child the story was set in "Ancient China" but otherwise had a very tenuous connection with the original plot.
- Aladdin features as one of five stories in the Hallmark Entertainment TV miniseries Arabian Nights from 2000, featuring Jason Scott Lee as Aladdin and John Leguizamo as both the genies.
- The title character was featured along with the world of Agrabah in the sixth season of ABC's hit TV show Once Upon a Time, played by Deniz Akdeniz, with Jasmine played by Karen David and Jafar played by Oded Fehr. Jafar was played by Naveen Andrews in the spin-off, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
- The story of Aladdin was featured in Alif Laila, a TV series directed by Ramanand Sagar in 1994 and was telecasted on DD National.
- In 1962 the Italian branch of Walt Disney Productions published the story Paperino e la grotta di Aladino (Donald and Aladdin's Cave), written by Osvaldo Pavese and drawn by Pier Lorenzo De Vita. As in many pantomimes, the plot is combined with elements of the Ali Baba story: Uncle Scrooge leads Donald Duck and their nephews on an expedition to find the treasure of Aladdin and they encounter the Middle Eastern counterparts of the Beagle Boys. Scrooge describes Aladdin as a brigand who used the legend of the lamp to cover the origins of his ill-gotten gains. They find the cave holding the treasure—blocked by a huge rock requiring a magic password ("open sesame") to open.
- The original version of the comic book character Green Lantern was partly inspired by the Aladdin myth; the protagonist discovers a "lantern-shaped power source and a 'power ring'" which gives him power to create and control matter.
Manga and anime
- The Japanese manga series Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is not a direct adaptation, but features Aladdin as the main character of the story and includes many characters from other One Thousand and One Nights stories. An adaptation of this comic to an anime television series was made in October 2012.
- A number of video games were based on the Disney movie:
- The video game Sonic and the Secret Rings is heavily based on the story of Aladdin, and both genies appear in the story. The genie of the lamp is the main antagonist, known in the game as the Erazor Djinn, and the genie of the ring, known in the game as Shahra, appears as Sonic's sidekick and guide through the game. Furthermore, the ring genie is notably lesser than the lamp genie in the story.
- The Disney version of Aladdin appears throughout the Disney/Square Enix crossover series Kingdom Hearts, with Agrabah being a visitable world.
- In 2010, Anuman Interactive launched Aladin and the Enchanted Lamp, a hidden object game on PC and Mac.
- In 2016 Saturn Animation Studio has produced an interactive adaptation of The Magical Lamp of Aladdin for mobile devices.
Sega Sammy have released a line of pachinko machines based on Aladdin since 1989. Sega Sammy have sold over 570,000 Aladdin pachinko machines in Japan, as of 2017[update]. At an average price of about $5,000, this is equivalent to approximately $2.85 billion in pachinko sales revenue.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aladdin.|
- The Arabian Nights by Andrew Lang at Project Gutenberg
- Aladdin, or, The wonderful lamp, by Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger, William Blackwood & Sons, 1863
- "Alaeddin and the Enchanted Lamp", in John Payne, Oriental Tales vol. 13
- Alaeddin, by Sir Richard Francis Burton. (in HTML and annotated)
- The Thousand Nights and a Night in several classic translations, with additional material, including Payne's introduction  and quotes from Galland's diary.