The Arabian Nights by AnonymousThe tales of told by Shahrazad over a thousand and one nights to delay her execution by the vengeful King Shahriyar have become among the most popular in both Eastern and Western literature, as recounted by Sir Francis Burton. From the epic adventures of Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp to the farcical Young Woman and her Five Lovers and the social criticism of The Tale of the Hunchback, the stories depict a fabulous world of all-powerful sorcerers, jinns imprisoned in bottles and enchanting princesses. But despite their imaginative extravagance, the Tales are anchored to everyday life by their realism, providing a full and intimate record of medieval Islam.
The Arabian Nights: One Thousand and One Nights Summary
The story of The Arabian Nights begins with Shahriar , a sultan who has just found out that his wife has committed adultery. Embittered and shocked, he decides that all women are evil and that the world would be better with less of them. So every day, he would marry a girl and have her executed by his vizier the next morning. On their wedding night, she asks the sultan if she may bring her sister, Dinarzade, into their chamber as it is her last night alive. The sultan consents and a mattress is brought in for the sister. Dinarzade then asks her sister to tell her one of her famous stories.
The story starts with a king, Shahzaman, whose wife has committed adultery with a kitchen boy. Shahzaman gets to the palace of his brother, Shahrayar. He is king but he cannot protect or keep what is his. His brother invites him on a hunt, but he declines, staying in the palace with his grief. They sneak out, under the guise of another hunt, but go back into the city to catch his wife with the black slave.
There are many stories written in verse and characterized like art. There are many dialogues and monologs, Turkish loanwords and archaism. He was so hurt by their act that he concluded that all women are infidel, and he decided to sleep with a different woman every night and execute her in the morning. He did It for three years, and then he met Scheherezade. She was beautiful and smart, and she started telling him a story he enjoyed so much that he decided to put off her execution just to hear the end of the story.
As in much medieval European literature, the stories— fairy tales , romances , legends , fables , parables , anecdotes , and exotic or realistic adventures—are set within a frame story. Then, loathing all womankind, he marries and kills a new wife each day until no more candidates can be found. His vizier , however, has two daughters, Shahrazad Scheherazade and Dunyazad; and the elder, Shahrazad, having devised a scheme to save herself and others, insists that her father give her in marriage to the king. Each evening she tells a story, leaving it incomplete and promising to finish it the following night. The stories are so entertaining, and the king so eager to hear the end, that he puts off her execution from day to day and finally abandons his cruel plan.