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July 11, 2013

Essay on Arabian Nights

The collection of Arabian nights is rich in the theme of metamorphosis, which takes place both in terms of the content and the form. It is a tale of magic revolving around the sorcerers and magicians that have supernatural powers and this becomes one of the crucial themes of the book and continues to be reverberated through the building of the tales of Scheherazade. We find that the tales have, multiple times, the famous demons that emerge from their lamp, but there are a series of lesser-known women, witches, or sorcerers witches as well who have the power to transform individuals, often of the opposite sex, by subjecting them to a change of species or territory. These women-witches help build and develop the discourse of the "sultan of the blades" with the invisible sword hanging over the head of Scheherazade.
The story is riddled with the strong themes of forgiveness, jealousy, and magic.  The stories highlight the asymmetry of powers between the story of fisherman with Sprite and the story of Scheherazade with Shahriar. The first Old Man’s Tale and the Second old Man’s Tale relates to the story of merchant as it foregrounds the importance of forgiveness and teach this vital value to the demon who is bent on killing the merchant.  One Thousand and One Nights shows that no matter how the gap between two people, it is possible to transform the relationship based on violence and oppression to a relationship based on tenderness and gentleness, with reason and persuasion, forgiveness and kindness.  Perhaps, this is the optimistic view advocated in the story which makes the book even more intriguing.
The Arabian Nights came, made a very profound impact on the imagination of the masses. The narrative technique of the narrative of framing tales - the history of betrayal of King Shahriar by his wife - which gradually give rise to other stories, has fascinated the authors of all time, so that one could consider Arabian Nights like a carpet, which recognizes a part of India, elements of Persian and Arab stories, and whose son does not cease to be braided differently by the literary tradition. The extraordinary success of the Arabian Nights is probably due to the themes addressed (destiny, magic, love, jealousy, infidelity) but also due to the figure of the storyteller who deploys them. Introductory part, told through third person narrative, is indeed directed to Scheherazade, who tells King Shahriyar fabulous stories that become the currency to redeem her life. If the name of the king seems to have faded, night after night from the memory of the readers, one of the "Sultan of the blades" has become a contrasting symbol of the whole collection. Body-narrative is unique in its own respect as it represents the voice in a silent world, the one that saved her life as well as of her peers; it is the heroine who is triumphant in a world that was organized in principle around the figure of man. This power of speech, in which women are primarily stakeholders in the collection, is exercised primarily in the art of metamorphosis.  Scheherazade is not only the teacher who will restore perfect royal power with her tales, the tales are also the embodiment of perfect art of storytelling that makes the tales unavoidable, insurmountable, since the desire for fiction is inoculated with human remains forever unfulfilled.
Like Scheherazade, women in the collection are of Nights custodians of traditional knowledge, but also a formidable power that they have on men and who is fundamentally in their mastery of the art of metamorphosis. In the history of the Merchant and the demon, which is the tale that opens the Arabian Nights narrated by Scheherazade, the other three stories are staged in drawers. They are stories of three old men, who, like Scheherazade, bought a life through story telling. Women and metamorphosis are central to these tales as well. The first old man responsible for telling his story is indeed accompanied by a gazelle, which is nothing other than his wife. Jealous of her husband’s concubine, she took advantage of his absence to metamorphose her into the cow and turn her son in a calf. However, the shepherd's daughter had noticed the spell, and reverses the spell and punished the woman by turning her into a gazelle. In this tale, the woman is not only about the metamorphic power, but also its purpose, which seems to restore a kind of balance. In one set of conflicting forces of jealousy and transformations also arise in the tale of the second old man, who is accompanied by two black dogs, who are in fact his brothers. Their extraordinary story revolves around the two mean brothers who are overtaken by the green monster of jealousy as their younger brother accumulates wealth and marries a young woman. Envious, they throw into the sea failed on a desert island, a place which gives rise to metamorphosis; the man discovers that his wife was nothing but a demon. For revenge, she metamorphosed the two jealous brothers into dogs.
Characters / animal in the tales which of Scheherazade are all going to expiate a fault and not resume their original form until they finished atonement. The metamorphosis is imposed here as a penance or a punishment. Returning to the relationship between women and metamorphosis, we noted above in cases where they constitute punishment or supreme vengeance inflicted by the fair sex. These courageous magicians are ready to help men and even sacrifice their lives to free them of sorcery. They, moreover, have a task far more complex and important, namely to buy Scheherazade's.
A rich merchant had to travel for a case and go through a desert country. He stops at an oasis and eats dates. Unfortunately for him, he inadvertently kills the son of a powerful demon with a date stone. Warns that the devil will kill him but the dealer gets a one-year grace, the time to put its house in order and ensure that his family is doing well after his death. A year later, the merchant returns to the oasis in order to find the demon and to face his destiny. However, before the arrival of his executioner, three other stores coming to pass and, after being informed of his amazing story, the three decide to stay to see the events.
When the demon arrives, the first merchant offers the daemon to listen to his story and asks in exchange for a third of the life of the person if the devil likes history. Fortunately for him, the devil is astonished by the story and agreed to by a third of the life of the merchant. The other two dealers tell their stories in turn and finally, they manage to save the lives of the poor merchant.
We can see that forgiveness is expressed in the story of “The Second Old Man’s Tale”. The theme of forgiveness is articulated by the third of the three brothers or the brother who declined going on a journey of his own. In “The Second Old Man’s Tale” the father of three brothers passes away and leaves behind a considerable inheritance for them to share equally.
The three brothers, having shared it equally, start up their own businesses that prove to be successful. The theme of forgiveness is accentuated most when one of the three brothers embarks on his own journey only to return pauper. 
After which one of the three brothers goes off on his own journey, leaving the other brothers behind, only to return home broke. The two brothers that remained out of love for their brother each put together an equal some which they gave to their brother in order to help him get back on his. This process is echoed once more by the second brother who does the same and in turn the two brothers that stayed behind did the same for the second brother as was done for the first. After which the first two brothers asked the last brother when he was going to go on a journey of his own and he told them that he would not because he saw what happened to both of them. It wasn’t until after the third brother had saved what he considered to be enough money for him to get back on his feet if he were to have fallen down on his luck like his other two had after going on their journey did he agree to go on a journey not on his own but with both of them.
“And I have regretted the separation of our companionship :: An eon, and tears flooded my eyes
And I’ve sworn if time brought us back together : I’ll never utter any separation with my tongue
Joy conquered me to the point of :: which it made me happy that I cried
Oh eye, the tears out of you became a principle :: You cry out of joy and out of sadness”(Haddawy, 2009)
What emerges from this brief overview is the awesome power of women in The Thousand and One Nights, a power which comes from the art of speech and exercised in the control of metamorphosis by that we mean not only the ability to produce a change of reign or species, namely to generate a transformation inherent in the human body, but also change his mind after his nights, the sultan of the blades will actually a totally changed King Shahriyar, It helped him heal his wounded heart, saved other women from murder and restored the royal power. Obviously, other transformations are present in Nights, both in terms of content and the theoretical and symbolic. This remains the most captivating that has a collection of flamboyant tales that have been printed, disguised, hidden, and traveled from country to country, from generation to generation, in their continuing metamorphosis.  

Husain Haddawy (Translator)(2009). The Arabian Nights. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Editor,
Princeton University), Paperback


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