Remorse is an effective and influential theme in character development, one that can override preexisting ambitions and stunt aspirations, driving a character to immediately amend whatever wrongs they feel obligated to correct. For Alibaba, the remorse that he feels when eyeing the fallen kingdom of Balbadd is truly powerful, especially after his brother, Kassim, manipulated it as a means to control Alibaba as leader of the Fog Troupe.
When reviewing the disheartening story of Alibaba and his place in the fall of the former kingdom, it is understandable that he should feel some guilt for the current turmoil and rebellion facing Balbadd presently. He feels the need to blame himself and his carelessness for the ransacking of the royal castle and the death of his father. To make matters worse, his departure from Balbadd meant that he could not rectify his ‘mistakes’ as the nation turned to disorder and destruction. Naturally, Alibaba, as a considerate and noble soul, sought to return to Balbadd after conquering the Amon Dunegon in Qishan with his newfound power as a tool to reconstruct the fallen kingdom and restore it to its former glory. However, Kassim understood the position of his ‘friend’ and proceeded to direct Alibaba to the Fog Troupe to strengthen the revolution.
Having known Alibaba for years during their impoverished childhood together, Kassim knew how to manipulate Alibaba’s emotions and use it in order for him to join his ranks and lead the Fog Troupe to thievery and a redistribution of the nation’s fleeting wealth. After explaining of the plague that took their sister and of the government oppression, this in the form of ignoring the dying people and eventually burning and demolishing the slums, Kassim tailored his approach in a way to blind Alibaba to his former ways and force him into joining and leading his band of ruthless thieves. Rather than allow Alibaba to make a decision for himself, Kassim pressured Alibaba on the spot, at the site of his sister’s grave. This addition, that of the diseased and charred slums, augmented the his agonizing burden, putting him at the point where it become unbearable. And his is where Kassim attacked, using this opportunity to impose a duty on Alibaba beyond his original intention of restoring Balbadd and shifting it to restoring Balbadd through a people’s revolution. Kassim was able to perform this endeavor by showing him the indirect results of his previous errors. However, to say these faults belong to Alibaba is mistaken and that this added remorse is certainly not genuine.
What Kassim was able to do was show Alibaba the results of his missteps and how it affected the downfall of Balbadd. Because Alibaba felt responsible for the former king’s death, something that should be attributed to his weakened state and the assault by Kassim, Alibaba believed he was accountable for the current state of the slums. However, whether or not Alibaba and the king remained alive, the disease would have spread through the slums. It would’ve happened regardless of Alibaba’s presence or not. However, Alibaba felt some responsibility in learning of Mariam’s passing. Furthermore, when Kassim recalled how the government ignored the cries and pleas of the slums and eventually lead to its obliteration, it isn’t like Alibaba had the power within him as a prince to provide aid to the slums. As it appeared throughout Alibaba’s childhood, the slums never received any aid or care from the government and it is unlikely that it would’ve changed with the disease as its peak. However, these stories that Kassim fed Alibaba played into his fragile state and were used to convince him to join his side in the revolution. Although it is possible that Kassim did not have an ulterior motive and was not trying to fabricate more remorse from Alibaba, it did seem that his plan was to capture him from the start with this history and then persuade him to join in his emotional and confused state. However, it does appear that there was some cunning involved on Kassim in how he roped Alibaba in, and it is worth noting that I am curious how Alibaba would have enacted his compassion without the influence of his brother.
Although I doubt Aladdin will ever mature into a formidable and muscular fighter like Sinbad, I couldn’t help but feel that the team of Sinbad, Jafar, and Masrur is like a grown-up version of Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana. Of course the personalities and appearances are off, but the roles they share between each other are strikingly similar and this encounter is perhaps a foreshadowing of what to expect further on in Magi. Of course, knowing how legendary and revered Sinbad is, it seems like it may be a while before Aladdin reaches his level.