THE WESTS VIEW OF THE ORIENTAL WOMAN BASED ON THE FRAME STORY OF THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS

The Thousand and One Nights, a collection of about 200 stories, is probably the most famous piece of Arabic literature in the West. It includes the adventures of such well-known characters as Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad. The stories of the Arabian Nights are folk tales from Arabia, Egypt, India, Persia, and other countries. The work in its present form was written in Arabic about 1500. In the early 1700’s, Jean Antoine Galland translated the Arabian Nights into French. John Payne and Sir Richard Francis Burton wrote English translations of the collection in the 1880’s. According to the Occident (west) the Orient (east) is an exotic and mysterious land. The sources of this assumption are the stories in The Thousand and One Nights. The following essay describes how these stories contributed to the western view of the eastern/oriental women. The Thousand and One Nights, also called Arabian Nights, begins with the story of King Shahriyar, who has learned that his wife has been unfaithful. He orders her killed and vows to marry a new maiden each night and have her beheaded the next morning. One of the king’s officials has a beautiful and talented daughter, named Sharazad, who insists on being the ruler’s bride. She asks her sister to come to the bedchamber on the wedding night and request permission for Sharazad to tell one last story. The king agrees, and she tells a tale so entertaining that he allows her to live another day to finish it. One story leads to another, and Sharazad tells tales for a thousand and one nights. By then, the king has become very fond of her stories and also of her that he spares her life. Based on the reading of the frame story, we can conclude that the stories in the Thousand and One Nights lead the western readers to believe that the east is a place of magic where the people live luxurious and prosperous lives. (Fond of sport and merrimentcustom to go out in quest of pleasure and amuse…

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