The Arabian Nights: One Thousand and One Nights

The Currency of Stories and Compassion: An Analysis of Two Tales in 1,001 Nights 12th Grade

The 1,001 Nights, also known as Arabian Nights, has frequently and loudly been lauded as the quintessential storytelling experience. Although the actual number of tales varies by edition, there seems to be little doubt that not only are the stories themselves veritable treasures, the consistent theme of storytelling as a means for salvation is appreciated by storytellers around the globe. The frame narrative sets this theme up early on: the sultan, Shahriar, having been scorned by his wife, resolves to marry a virgin each day and kill her the next. In an attempt to prevent this atrocity, a brave woman named Scheherazade resolves to postpone or even halt the senseless killings by telling the sultan stories. By ending on a cliff-hanger each day, the sultan will permit her to live long enough to complete the tale, which inevitably leads into a next. This repeated idea of storytelling as a means to pacify and earn mercy, as well as an attempt to impress upon the sultan the evil of murdering innocents, is utilized in two of the early stories by Scheherazade in her attempt to earn her freedom and her life from the sultan.

The first story Scheherazade sees fit to entertain the sultan immediately establishes the currency of...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1178 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9118 literature essays, 2378 sample college application essays, 399 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in