1001 Nights : Women Control

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In the middle period there were many tales of great warriors, kings, and men alike as well, as in the ancient period and the early 20th century. Yet, what happens to the women? There emerges a great curiosity as to who had the upper hand when it came to control. However, as the saying goes, behind every great man is an even greater woman. In the tale “The Thousand and One Nights,” a woman’s sexuality, emotions, and physical actions towards men are not overtly influential. However, when considering, how women used sexual and emotional control towards men, you start to wonder who is really in control. The women are in control. Women’s powers in sexuality and the emotional reactions by men play a vital role in this story. In this tale were two brothers betrayed by their wives. Or were the wives merely trying to prove a point that they had more control than the men did? King Shahzaman ruler of Samarkand, is astonished when he walks in on his wife making love to the cook even though the men of this era were allowed concubines and free play. After the discovery Shahzamn “drew his sword and stuck both his wife and the cook. Then he dragged them by the heels and threw them from the top of the palace to trench below” (1102), and that was that. Was it the fact that his wife had deceived him that he became that infuriated so much that he killed them? No, it was the wife’s use of power of sex and his emotions that riled him to become that angry. Grievously, it ended in her losing her life. However, had she not had possessed the power over his emotions; Shahzaman would not have cared about the infidelity. His wife demonstrated that she did not have as many rights as her husband enjoyed, but she did have power over him.

Shahrayar, was a king as well, who experiences the same anguish but only by King Shahzaman’s visit does he discover his own wife’s betrayal. One day while King Shahrayar is out his brother catches Shahrayar’s wife, concubines, and slaves engaging in sex. In shock king Shahzaman is reluctant to tell his brother, in fear of his reactions. Eventually, he does tell and Shahrayar feels he must see this with his own eyes. The mind control the women hold is amazing. He could have just let the wife go but Shahrayar was incapable of this. King Shahrayar does, in fact, witness the deceit that his brother had revealed to him previously but before he decides on a reaction he wants to journey to see if he can find grief larger than of his and his brother’s.

King Shahrayar and King Shahzaman have seen much sorrow before their journey, but, nothing will prepare them for what they are about to experience. As the men rest by the shore, moments later, they hear a noise from the sea and out comes a demon and his wife who is locked in a chest ; in fear the brothers climb a tree, the same tree the demon will lay to rest on his wife’s lap when her releases her. As he lies on his wife’s lap after he took her out of the chest she looks up and sees the brothers. The demon’s wife states to the kings “make love to me and satisfy my need” (1106). If they don’t comply she shall wake him and the demon will kill them both. Why not run away or wake the demon and tell of his wife’s deception? They agree because she was in pure control of the situation and they had none. They complied and made love to her; as proof of her conquest she collects their rings. She then tells them “he has guarded me and tried to keep me chaste, not realizing that nothing can prevent or alter what is predestined and that when a woman desires something, no can stop her” (1106). Not only did she manipulate the brothers, but her demon husband had no idea his wife just bedded her 99th and 100th man. After this the brothers’ head back to the palace.

The men return and King Shahrayar prepares his brother for his journey back home. Consequently, the return of Shahrayar he summons his vizier “take that wife of mine and put her to death” (1107). He killed the slave and...
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