Literary Analysis Essay on The Thousand and One Night

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University of Richmond
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The literature of The Thousand and One Night illustrates the truth about life and the consequences of human actions. For example, in the story where Shahrazad, a brilliant woman is forced to marry a ruthless king who kills his wife each night and marries a new one in the morning after he found out that his wife was being unfaithful. Shahrazad, however, outsmarts the king by narrating a story to him each night before he goes to sleep. She ends each story with suspense in order to save her life. Notably, Shahrazad was supposed to be the kings prisoner who would later be harassed sexually and eventually killed in the morning. Surprisingly, it appears that the king becomes Shahrazads prisoner because he is addicted to her stories throughout the night (Mardrus & Mathers, 2013).

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The narrator explains the nature in which the characters tend to plead for their lives in different ways. She narrates how people perform inhumane acts such as brutality and killing. She urges her readers that they should listen to others and be just. Certainly, this narrative is a true account of life and the consequences of human actions (Mardrus & Mathers, 2013). As a result, the author appears to overemphasise that people should endeavour to change the perspective of the wrong doers. This is clearly exemplified by Shahrazads act of narrating stories to her husband causing him to shift from brutality to humanity.

With time, Shahrazad tells her husband stories that reflect her unpleasant situations. She introduces a new character who is a historical ruler. Shahrayar loved art, poetry and music, and believed that people should be treated equally. He sometimes disguised himself at night as a poor man and walked in the streets to see if the people were happy (Mardrus & Mathers, 2013). Unlike in the first story, the bloodthirsty king is met by a different ruler in the second story who works towards protecting womens rights instead of humiliating and destroying them. He looks forward to protecting and avenging every innocent victim.

Human beings are prone to change depending on the people they come across or the situations they find themselves in. In most of the stories, some characters are regarded to be dark and brutal. With time, these individuals become human and are concerned about social values. These stories show the role of literature. Their main aim is to guide the reader through life and has the power to make them more human.

The main aim of the author is to differentiate two characters. One character is regarded as rude and ruthless while the other is regarded to be human, one that is interested in other peoples happiness. Additionally, the story explains that adultery happens for a reason and that jealousy and violence bring misery to those concerned (Mardrus & Mathers, 2013).

What the author accomplishes through her stories is a transformation of the king who becomes a better leader. The stories are not meant to be viewed through a political lens but rather they should be looked at from a human perspective. These stories may not be able to change the world but they are capable of changing the readers and making them look at themselves in new ways.

Additionally, there are instances where ones character determines his/her fate. Their actions could lead to their suffering or blessings. Shahrazad did not refuse to marry the bloodthirsty king; instead, she became wise enough and used her own means to save her life which in the process changed the king to a better man. Her parents saw all the dangers while she saw all the opportunities (Mardrus & Mathers, 2013).

The author intends to capture the attention of a large number of audiences from all over the world. The audience is children and adults of different genders and age. The truth about life is that everyone is capable of change (Mardrus & Mathers, 2013). However, different situations change people differently. The ruthless king later turned to be a good person and accepted Shahrazad as his permanent wife. The Thousand and One Night give a chance to the reader to think further and create curiosity. For example, the story where a man sees in his dreams that there is a treasure in Baghdad. When he reached there he finds himself in trouble with the police. The readers, once they read this story, will be curious to know whether the man will find the treasure or what might happen to him. Another theme that is used a lot in the stories is magic. For example, there is a story where a demon comes out of the sea. The story seems unrealistic but it passes a different message to the readers (Mardrus & Mathers, 2013). Therefore, Thousand and One Nights is a story that clearly outlines the truth about life and the consequences of human actions. The ruthless king suffers


Mardrus, J. C., & Mathers, E. P. (2013). The Book of the Thousand and One Nights (Vol. 4).


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