A Conversation Between Women of Agamemnon, The Decameron, and The Thousand and One Nights

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GRISELDA: Good afternoon Clytemnestra, Shahrazad; do you mind if I sit with you?
SHAHRAZAD: Please join us Griselda; I am glad you could come to the party. I heard about the current events between you and your husband; I am glad that everything worked out in the end.
CLYTEMNESTRA: Yes, please sit Griselda. How are you doing after everything that has happened?
GRISELDA: I am doing well. I am sure you know that Gualtieri felt he had to test me to see if I was worthy of being his wife. I am just glad I was able to keep my word because I had sworn to him that I would “always try to please him and never be upset by anything he said or did” (1636). I am glad Gualtieri does not feel as frightened of a long term commitment as he did before.
SHAHRAZAD: I cannot imagine what you went through. I know Shahrayar would not trust women for some time and his mistrust caused much pain in my country. I heard he even stated, “There is not a single chaste woman anywhere on the entire face of the earth.” (1778). He then began his famous act of only marrying a woman for one night and then killing her. The women in our kingdom started becoming scarce which is one of the reasons why I volunteered to be his wife. I have come to love and respect him more as our relationship has blossomed.
CLYTEMNESTRA: I do not understand how you could both love and respect men who have done such horrible things not only to you personally, but to others as well. Griselda how could you love your husband when you thought he had killed your children and divorced you? Shahrazad your husband has murdered countless women just because he was cheated on once and yet you can still love him? My husband killed my daughter as a sacrifice so he could win a war. I did not agree with his actions and did not stand for them. Needless to say he paid for his actions.
GRISELDA: I understand your pain Clytemnestra there was once a time where I though both my children were dead, but I still respected my husband and knew that he knew best; therefore, I did not argue. I remember telling the attendant, “There: do exactly as your lord, who is my lord too, has instructed you.

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” (1637). He took my daughter and I was greatly frightened for her life, but by obeying my husband I have been greatly rewarded. I have received both of my children back and I feel my husband respects me more. I believe women should always obey their husbands without asking their intentions.
SHAHRAZAD: I respect the men in my life as well Griselda, but when it comes to murdering your own children that is pushing the limits. I remember the day I had to respectfully persuade my father to let me go to Shahrayar. He wanted to protect me, but I would not relent. I finally had to claim, “In the end, if you don’t take me to King Shahrayar, I shall go to him by myself behind your back and tell him that you have refused to give me to one like him and that you begrudged your master one like me.” (1782). The statement may have been seen as disrespectful, but I had tried asking respectfully and the deed had to be done. I knew I had to do what I could to help the women in my country, but I also knew that I had to do so wisely and respectfully. You may have been able to do something while still respecting your husband. I feel there can be a balance. I do not think we should start undermining the men’s authority, but I also think we should look at their intentions and try to help them if they are in the wrong. They are human and can make mistakes.
CLYTEMNESTRA: I agree that men can make mistakes; however, I do not think we have to rely on men or respect them if they are in the wrong. I believe I can rule as capably as any man could. Everyone should be punished for their transgressions including men. I remember after I killed my husband I declared, “Act for act, wound for wound!” (547). My husband murdered my daughter and so I caused death to come upon him as well. He deserved to be punished.
SHAHRAZAD: Clytemnestra he may have deserved justice, but was it really your place to exact that justice? If you had tried to help him maybe he could have become a better man. I have been telling Shahrayar stories every night of life and forgiveness so that he can learn that violence does not have to be the only answer in certain situations. I believe he is healing from his hurts in the past and that he understands that violence does not have to be the answer.
GRISELDA: I am glad that your situation is working out as you planned Shahrazad. I have never considered helping a man in such a way. Of course, I could not do so if such an action were to cause disobedience. I swore to always obey him, but it does not sound like you are disobeying his rule, but that he is. I am glad he has not killed you and has learned to have more faith in women. My husband never actually killed my children or divorced me those “fake” actions were all a test and thankfully I passed. I pray I never have to endure anything like it again.
CLYTEMNESTRA: I see your point Shahrazad and I could almost agree with you. After losing a daughter it is hard to heal and seems impossible to forgive. I do not know that I could have thought of a way to stop Agamemnon from sacrificing our daughter. There is no way I could redo the events now anyways and I feel no reason to think of all the events that could have been. I am healing from all the events and am doing better. I am glad everything worked out for you Griselda.
GRISELDA: Thank you Clytemnestra. I think Gualtieri is motioning for me to gather the children; the party seems to be ending. It has been so great talking to you two and seeing different perspectives. I definitely have more to think about. I cannot say that I agree with everything that you have both said, but I do respect you and enjoy your company.
SHAHRAZAD: We should stay in touch and get together again some time. You have both been great company. I am glad to know you are both moving forward in your lives. I wish you both all the best.
CLYTEMNESTRA: Yes, of course. It was good to have a conversation with women who have been through similar situations as mine. All our stories are different, but they do have some aspects in common. I hope you are both blessed in numerous ways in the future.




Works Cited

Aeschylus. "Agamemnon." The Norton Anthology of Wester Literature. Ed. Sarah Lawall. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 1984. 506-50. Print.
Boccaccio, Giovanni. "The Decameron." The Norton Anthology of Wester Literature. Ed. Sarah Lawall. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 1984. 1600-641. Print.
"The Thousand and One Nights." The Norton Anthology of Wester Literature. Ed. Sarah Lawall. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 1984. 1772-821. Print.



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