The Thousand and One Nights Essay

The Thousand and One Nights Essay

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When a person becomes trapped in a situation that stems from an individual with greater authority, being manipulative can be a very promising method to escape. The Thousand and One Nights does a very good job of being a good example of someone in this situation that uses stories within a story to capture encapsulate the attention of the reader. Despite the many little stories that go into the text, the main story behind it all is about a king named King Shahrayar and how he goes insane after catching his wife having sexual relations with a slave. After he sees this happen, he realizes that he can never trust any woman again and none of them are trustworthy. By expressing his views on women, he decides to marry a different woman every night, then the next morning have them killed by beheading. This is an ongoing event that brings death to most of the women in the village. Soon after, the king’s Vizier’s daughter, Shahrazad, came up with a brilliant idea that will end up saving her fellow countrywomen and hopefully keep the king from murdering so many innocent people. Her method behind all this is by telling the kind a different story every night that leaves him on a cliffhanger, making him curious enough to keep her alive for another day to continue her story. Shahrazad keeps herself spared from the king because of her cunning, and compassionate personality.
Shahrazad is kept alive mainly because of her vast knowledge of the king, allowing her to plan her escape precisely and with skill. Shahrazad is a scholar, so says the narrative, and is very aware of what will capture the king’s attention enough to spare her every night, because: “[She] had read the books of literature, philosophy, and medicine. She knew poetry by heart…and...


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... subjects such as literature, medicine, and philosophy. By knowing all this, Shahrazad is able to come up with a brilliant plan and uses it in a cunning way so that she is able to convince the king to cease killing the women. By use of sexual advancements, sly stories, and the help of her sister, Dinarzad, she is able to successfully follow through with her plan. A main factor driving her is her compassion and drive to help other people in need. The Thousand and One Nights is an intriguing story that will keep readers on their toes, and like King Shahrayar, keep coming back for the rest of the story.
















Work Cited
The Thousand and One Nights. Trans. Husain Haddawy, Jerome W. Clinton. The Norton
Anthology of World Literature. Ed. Peter Simon. 3rd. ed. Vol. B. New York and London:
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2012. 552-605. Print.

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