Arabian Nights Criticism

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Luis Vazquez
English

The plot of Arabian nights conveys the theme/ideal that story telling is a vital part of society. Shahrazad’s captivating stories to King Shahrayar becomes the sole purpose/focus of her life; each tale literally saves her life every night. Each night she concludes the tale from the previous night and begins another fantastical and magical tale, though as the tale reaches its climax Shahrazad is stricken by sleep and suspends storytelling , leaving the tale at a cliffhanger, while King Shahrayar urns for its conclusion. This urning (created by storytelling) for the various tale’s conclusion compels King Shahrayar to spare Shahrazad’s life so she can conclude her work. As each night passes Shahrazad and storytelling indirectly are not only responsible for keeping her alive but saving the lives of countless woman the king would have killed; Shahrazad and storytelling are able to divert the King’s attention away from his vow to marry a new woman every day and have her put to death in the morning replacing it with curiosity and enthusiasm, easing social tension and fears of woman. However the power/importance of storytelling is further conveyed through the structure of the frame narrative as the narrative transitions from night to night. An example of this is the dialogue on page 2O “But morning over took Shahrazad and she lapsed into silence. As day dawned and it was light, her sister Dinzard said “What a strange and wonderful story!” Shahazard replied “tomorrow I shall tell you something even stranger and more wonderful then this”. Then as the third night begins the dialogue proceeds “When it was night and shaharazad was in bed with the king, Dinzard said to her sister Shahrazad “Please if you are not sleepy tell us one of your lovely little tales to while away the night ….”.

In looking at the structure of this portion of the frame narrative story telling literally leads Dinzard, Shahrazad, and King Shahrayar into the next day and/or...
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