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Arabian Nights


Submitted By Eskela4
Words 711
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Core Huamnities 201
Arabian Nights Universal Themes Images and Techniques Used Arabian Nights, also known as One Thousand and One Nights is a story which revolves around a Persian king who just married a new bride. However, he discovers that his wife was unfaithful and has her executed. As a result, all the women in the kingdom are declared unfaithful. Shahryar (the king) begins to marry a sequence of virgins from the kingdom and has them executed the next morning. In due course, the vizier, who is entitled with the responsibility of providing the virgins, can no longer find any more virgins in the kingdom other than his daughter Scheherazade. She offers herself to be a bride to the king despite objections from her father. On the night of their consummation Scheherazade starts to tell the king a story but does not get to finish it. The king is therefore forced to delay her execution in order to hear the conclusion. On the next night, she tells the king another story and this turns into a series of stories that go on for one thousand and one nights (Haddawy 16).
Universal Theme
The Arabian Nights comprises of a sequence of stories which do not have an ending. The passing on of the tales is universally seen as a means of preservation. Scheherazade used the narration of stories as a way to preserve her life she further interwove the endings of the stories with the beginnings of the new stories thus giving them a sense of infinity. She told the stories night after night and thus made the story seem never ending. This gave the entire book a sense of infinity and immortality (Lane 96). In addition to that, Scheherazade’s life was eventually spared by the king thus emphasizing on the immortality.
Use of a Frame Story and Embedded Narrative A frame story is a compilation of stories within stories. Arabian Nights consists of the main story of the king who is seeking revenge for his wife’s infidelity and thus marries a new bride and has her executed the next day after taking her virginity. In this story another frame of Scheherazade’s life is told. In an attempt to preserve her life, Scheherazade tells a sequence of never ending stories that are compiled to seem like an endless story. In some of her stories, some of the characters start to narrate their own tales. Embedded narrative is the technique used in the narration of the frame story. In the book, Sinbad narrates all the stories about his seven voyages despite the fact that Scheherazade was the main narrator of her tales (Alderson 87). The use of embedded narratives in the book makes the story more interesting to read and involves the reader on a higher level.
Use of Images Scheherazade paints the images of her story clearly through the use of dramatic visualization. Dramatic visualization can be defined as the representation of a character or an object with a profusion of detail or the basic use of mimetic gestures and words in order to provide a clear visual scene or give an imaginative presence to the audience. For example in the tale of The three Apples, the painting of the visual scene where the fisherman found the body of the dead woman was painted to great precision in a way that created a clear visual image of the woman’s dead body (Burton 125). In summary, the use of techniques such as the embedded narrative is effective in bringing out the main theme of immortality. In addition to that, the use of dramatic visualization provides a clear image for the reader thus making them fell as part of the story being told.

Works cited
Alderson, Brian, and Michael Foreman. The Arabian Nights, Or, Tales Told by Sheherezade During a Thousand Nights and One Night. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1995. Print.
Burton, Richard F. The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights. New York: Modern Library, 2001. Print.
Haddawy, Husain, Muhsin Mahdi, and Daniel Heller-Roazen. The Arabian Nights. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2010. Print.
Lane, Edward W. Arabian Society in the middle Ages: Studies from the Thousand and One Nights. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1971. Print.

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