Guided by Curiousity

1047 Words3 Pages
Although sex, immorality, and the scandalous actions of women are major themes in The Arabian Nights, there is an underlying theme of curiosity throughout the story. In the foreword it is explained that the purpose of the book was to provide "excellent lessons" and "opportunity to learn the art of discourse" (Page 185). It also serves to "teach the reader to detect deception and to protect himself from it, as well as delight and divert him whenever he is burdened with the cares of life and the ills of this world" (Page 185). The stories told throughout The Arabian Nights express how out of a man's curiosity he can bring forth an undesired or unplanned outcome. Curiosity changes the situation for several of the characters in the story leading them into most times unwanted situations. It sends a message to the reader that one shouldn't let their actions be guided by curiosity, but rather by the "Supreme God who is the True Guide" (Page 185).

The reader is first introduced to two kings, Shahrayar and Shahzaman, who are brothers both betrayed by their wives. Shahzaman mistakenly discovers his wife's infidelity just before going to visit his brother. He is in agony over the betrayal and loss. While Shahzaman is at Shahrayar's palace he mistakenly discovers that his brother's wife is having immoral sexual relationships with a slave man. Although curiosity did not play a part in Shahzaman's discovery of the two women's infidelity, Shahrayar's curiosity drove him to discover his wife's betrayal and to endure the great suffering caused by it. When Shahzaman refused to tell his brother about what he had seen his wife doing, Shahrayar insisted that he tell him:

Shahzaman replied, "King, I wish that for God's sake you wou...

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...merchant's story he is overwhelmed with curiosity and swears that he will stay with him to see what happens with him and the demon. They were motivated more by their curiosity than their fear of the demon. And finally, the demon himself is at least a little bit curious as he is willing to hear each man's strange and amazing story so that it might save the life of the merchant.

In The Arabian Nights, the curiosity of the characters, in many instances, changes the direction of their lives and causes them heartache. The actions of the characters in the stories can teach lessons to the readers to apply in their own lives. One can learn that curiosity should not be the driving force of his life. It sends a message to act cautiously when making choices instead of being driven by curiosity. Actions based on satisfying one's curiosity can cause an undesired outcome.
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