In Aladdin (2019), Genie says to Aladdin:

Genie: Don't ever interrupt me, no matter what. Now, I usually don't have to go through all of this... because by the time the guy gets to me, he pretty much knows what he wants...and it generally has to do with tons of money and power! Do me a favor, do not drink from that cup. I promise you there is not enough money and power on earth for you to be satisfied.

What "cup" is Genie referring to?

  • 5
    "Don't be that guy" – Valorum Jan 26 '20 at 14:01
  • Might also be a Holy Grail reference, but it's too vague compared to most of Genie's other references. – The Forest And The Trees Jan 27 '20 at 9:16

It's a metaphor¹. The 'cup'2 represents asking for money and power which is what most everyone in the past has done in this situation; i.e. being owed a wish from a genie.

'Drinking from that cup' would be analogous to doing what most everyone has done in the past.

He's saying 'Everyone asks for money and power. Don't ask for money and power because no matter how much I give you, you won't be satisfied.'

The subtext to that dialogue is that Genie has played out that scenario multiple times and he's sick and tired of watching his 'master' self-destruct as history repeats itself. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. He's warning Aladdin against making the same mistake as previous 'masters'.

¹ Metaphor - A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide clarity or identify hidden similarities between two ideas.

2 'Drinking from cups' has been used as a metaphor since (and may indeed originate from) The Bible

  • 11
    I'd think an even better Bible quote would be Jesus' "Let this cup pass from me"/"Take away this cup from me" (Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42). In that context, the cup holds your fate — drink from the cup, swallow what's in it, and you irreversibly accept it. It connotes an action which cannot be undone. – Quuxplusone Jan 27 '20 at 7:00
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    @Quuxplusone I think this should be an answer. It's a very good reference and explanation. – Ruadhan2300 Jan 27 '20 at 9:38

It is a metaphor, but it's also more than that. At the time the arabian nights was written, a cup would likely have contained wine, which intoxicates, or poison, which kills (indeed, I believe the original Alaeddin story involved a poisoned / drugged chalice)

So with the phrase "do not drink from THAT cup" he in some small way captures both the uses of a cup; that power and wealth intoxicate and that, ultimately, they lead only to an untimely death.

  • 2
    This would be a stronger answer if you could find the original quote from Aladdin that supports the drugged/poisoned chalice theory. – JohnP Jan 27 '20 at 20:41

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