Group 5 Finished Opening Sequence - Removal

Group 3C Finished Preliminary Task

Friday, October 9, 2009

Propp Narrative Analysis

(Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, Starring Scott Weinger and Robin Williams)

Vladimir Propp (1895 to 1970), analyzed the basic plot components of Russian folk tales to identify their components. In his narrative theory, there are a number of set common characters who each have specific narrative functions. The events of a narrative can also summarised in 31 steps of generalised events.
Character Types:
- Villain: Jafar
- Donor: Jafar
- The (magical) helper: Genie/Magic carpet
- Princess: Jasmine
- Her father: Sultan
- The dispatcher: Jafar
- Hero: Aladdin
- False hero/anti-hero: Jafar
Brief synopsis of film (using Propp's theory):
- Villain receives information about hero: Jafar, the Grand Visier to the Sultan, wants to obtain a magic lamp from the cave of wonders. He realises only the 'Diamond in the Rough' can enter the cave, and this is Aladdin
- Hero is introduced: Jasmine, the Sultan's daughter, is annoyed at her father for the restrictions he is placing upon her, so escapes to the local market, where she meets a street urchin called Aladdin
- Villain carries away hero: Jafar, knowing Aladdin is the 'Diamond in th Rough', captures him and tells Jasmine that Aladdin is dead
- Hero discovers lack and decides on counteraction: Jafar disguises himself then proceeds to take Aladdin to the Cave of Wonders, where he is told that only he can touch the magic lamp
- Hero is tested: Aladdin finds a magic carpet, which aids him and helps him to find the magic lamp. However Abu, Aladdin's pet monkey, steals a ruby, causing a cave in
- Hero responds to test: The magic carpet aids Aladdin in escaping the cave
- Villain and hero in direct combat: Jafar attack Aladdin in an attempt to retrieve the lamp, however Aladdin survives and maintains possession of the lamp
- Hero gets magical agent: Aladdin rubs the magical lamp, revealing the Genie who informs Aladdin that he will grant him three wishes
- Hero given new appearence: Aladdin first wishes to become a prince, to enable him to marry Jasmine. She, however, declines him until she realises his true identity
- Hero is persuit then rescued from persuit: Aladdin is captured again by Jafar, whose guards chian him and through him into the ocean. Aladdin escapes by using his second wish
- False hero exposed: Aladdin returns to the palace, revealing Jafar's fiendish plan to Jasmine and her father, the Sultan
- Jafar steals the magic lamp, then wishes to become a Sultan and a powerful sorcerer. He, with is new powers, sends Aladdin off to 'a far away place'
- The magic carpet aids Aladdin in his flight back home where, with the help of Jasmine, he attempts to steal back the magic lamp. However, they are caught and Jafar attacks him
- Villain is punished: Jafar thinks of himself as the most powerful being in the world, but is reminded by Aladdin that Genies are more so. Jafar attempts to counter this by wishing himself to be a genie, forgetting that Genies are not free beings, and is sucked into the lamp, which is then placed into the Cave of Wonder
- Task resolved by true hero: Aladdin uses his third and final wish to free Genie, who then goes off to explore the world
- Hero marries: The Sultan then changes the law to enable Aladdin to wed Jasmine, and they proceed to celebrate their engagement
Critique of Propp's theory:
- The 8 character types are faulted by the fact one character can have multiple functions at the same time (for example Jafar being the villain, donor, dispatcher and false hero), which according to Propp's theory can not be. Also, the 31 narrative functions are hard to fit into the story, espicially with the last section as the story does not finish when the false hero is exposed. This reveals a major flaw to Propp's theory as despite it being applicable to the simple Russian folk tales or fairy stories he analyzed, it is unable to be applied to more complicated stories, which is counter to what it claims to do. With the complexity shown in narrative and characters in modern day films, it seems clear to me that Propp's theory has lost much of its appeal