This above all: To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Hamlet, Act I scene iii
How rich these words sound nearly 400 years after William Shakespeare put them to paper. Polonius is advising his son Laertes to be true to himself and he will be true to those around him. Know himself for the person he is before others can know the true him. Many works of art have included this theme within them. One example is a seemingly simple movie: Disney’s Aladdin.
Aladdin is a street wise beggar who lives by his wits in the village of Agrabah. However, he longs to be much more. One day in the marketplace, Aladdin comes face to face with a beautiful young lady who appears to be a common peasant girl until she reveals herself as the fair Princess Jasmine. When he finds a magic lamp, a comical genie appears and grants him three wishes. Almost immediately, the young peasant wishes to be something he is not: a prince. As Prince Aliababwa (or Ali Abooboo), the streetrat fumbles around making himself look totally foolish as he tries to win the heart of Princess Jasmine.
One night, Ali takes Jasmine on a magic carpet ride to show her a “Whole New World.” However, even before the couple go on their flight, Jasmine begins to see beneath the “prince’s” disguise. Following the date, Jasmine tricks Aladdin into admitting his ruse. BUT, riddle me this, why was it ok for Jasmine to pretend to be something she was not in the marketplace? Can we say….EEEEVIL WOMAN.
There must be thousands of books, movies, songs, plays, or any type of art which attempts to convey the message of honesty to one’s self. Isn’t it ironic how such a fun Disney cartoon displays this message to children of all ages? Take the time to look back at the best of Disney’s animated movies and see how many of life’s lessons you can discover.