Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Touch of Julius Caesar in Aladdin

Aladdin. Dir. Ron Clements and John Musker. Perf. Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, and Linda Larkin. 1992. DVD. Walt Disney Video, 2004.

I've just finished directing a production of Julius Caesar for a group of fourth to eighth graders, and it was a marvelous experience. One of the things I love most is the use the students put to Shakespeare:

"Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look—pass him the mashed potatoes!"

"Let slip the dogs of war—but remember to bring a bag to clean up after them!"

Recently, two of the students pointed out that there's a tiny bit of Julius Caesar in the Disney film Aladdin. As a particular bonus, the clip has a guest appearance by another Disney character: one with not one but two Shakespearean names. I'm talking about Sebastian the Crab, whose familiar name comes from The Tempest (as does the name of The Little Mermaid's Little Mermaid—Ariel) but whose full name—Horatio Thelonius Ignatius Crustaceus Sebastian— has a little bit of Hamlet thrown in.

Here's a brief clip of the Genie pondering how to make Aladdin a prince and quoting from Shakespeare as he does so:

Note: Aladdin also has a character with a name from Shakespeare. Any guesses? It would be a good question for your next trivia quiz . . .

The parrot—the evil henchparrot for the evil Jafar— is named Iago.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Duane Morin said...

When you said Sebastian the Crab is named after two Shakespeare characters I assumed that character #2 was going to be Crab the dog ;)

kj said...

You're right! He has a triple Shakespearean name!

I'm assuming he's named after Sebastian in The Tempest, but perhaps we should consider the Sebastians in Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and All's Well that Ends Well as well.


Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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