Arabian Nights Essay

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Not your average bedtime story

The Arabian Nights is a book with no author its tales immerge from the trade routes and centers of the Middle East. A thousand nights and a night refers to one story that is wrapped around others and is an assembly of wonder, tales of magic, mysticism, eroticism and comedy. It’s a book of dark tales and ruthless men in ancient times. Women were not valued only punished if they did wrong to their men. The very beginning of this web of tales starts with King Shahryar sends for his younger brother Shah Zaman and, Scheherazade, King Shahryar’s wife, she tells stories just to stay alive. These tales are about lust and the fear of betrayal, power, love, and are full of angles and cliff hangers. This is not something you read to children instead of Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, so in reading the two tales that follow, this lovely and educated woman tells of The Fisherman and the Jinni and The Ensorcelled Prince revealing more than the reader expects.

Islamic values appear throughout the readings of The Arabian Nights. Before Shaha Zaman’s departure to his brother’s palace he returns to his chambers to find that his queen has committed adultery with a “blackamoor” and was grief-stricken. Eventually King Shahryar suffers the same fate as his wife too is caught with a slave. The unfaithfulness of the women to their husbands goes against the Islamic beliefs. Both had been done a great shame so they set forth wondering and King Shahryar declares, "Let us up as we are and depart forthright hence, for we have no concern with kingship, and let us overwander Allah's earth, worshiping the Almighty till we find someone to whom the like calamity hath happened. And if we find none then will death be more welcome to us than life." After the King found someone, a jinni, who had suffered a greater happening, both returned to their kingdoms and King Shahryar “swore to himself that whatever wife he married he would abate her maidenhead at...
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