Arabian Nights Favorite 



middle east, Asia, and Africa

The development of the Nights from the oriental oral and literary traditions of the Middle Ages into a classical work for Western readers is a fascinating one. The notebook of a Jewish book dealer from Cairo around the year 1150 contains the first documentary evidence for the Arabic title. The oldest preserved manuscripts, comprising a core corpus of about 270 nights, appear to date from the 15th century. The tales in the collection can be traced to three ancient oral cultures, Indian, Persian, and Arab, and they probably circulated in the vernacular hundreds of years before they were written down some time between the 9th and 15th centuries.

Scheherazade, female character within the frame story and narrator of all tales but the frame of The Arabian Nights (also known as the Thousand and One Nights). The sultan Shahryar, disillusioned by the sexual infidelity of women, has decided to marry a new wife every night only to kill her the next morning. Three years later, all marriageable women have either been killed or deserted the town, and none are left except the vizier's own daughters Scheherazade and Dinarzade. Scheherazade, the elder one, is well educated and has read a thousand books of histories and tales. Against her father's advice she insists on challenging the king. After the consummation of their marriage, Scheherazade has her sister ask her to tell a tale in order to pass the time. Scheherazade narrates a fascinating tale, but breaks off without reaching the end. Out of curiosity the king decides not to kill her and listens to the continuation next night. This strategy of suspense goes on for a thousand nights, until Scheherazade in the thousand and first night discloses her ruse and presents to the king the three children to whom she meanwhile has given birth. The king pardons her, renounces his former habit, and all rejoice.(Britanica Online)

She uses creative means to not only escape death, but save others, andshow that intelligence is a virtue for a woman. Something previously overlooked, especially considering most women couldnt read, and in this story Scheherazade exemplifies a well read woman of great wisdom, cunning, and creativity as she acts out against the unwarranted killing of women, and volunteers to put an end to it.

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