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The Thousand and One Nights

An overview of The Thousand and One Nights, to be taught prior to reading the stories.
by

Laura Treat

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of The Thousand and One Nights

The Thousand and One Nights World Literature Words You Need to
Know to "Get" This Story The Characters and the Frame Story Scheherazade The Framework The Thousand and
One Nights Your Turn! Folk tales are stories that were
originally handed down orally (out loud) among the common people of a general culture. As you have gathered from your research, there are many different short stories in the main frame of The Thousand and One Nights. Enter Scheherazade, the protagonist of our story. Unable to watch her young friends continue dying to Shahriyar's evil tyranny, Scheherazade volunteers to be the next wife. This process, as you can imagine, takes one thousand and one nights. After the one thousand and first night, Scheherazade finally runs out of ideas and finishes her stories. When we first began our projects, I told you that compassion and forgiveness would be a common theme in your stories. Now that you know the frame
of The Thousand and One Nights, it's your turn
to tell us about the story
you read! Frame stories are stories that have smaller stories inside of them. There is one story, however, that ties them all together. The main story centers around King Shahriyar, who is our antagonist. King Shahriyar was living a good life until one day, he learned his wife was cheating on him. In anger, he had her killed. Hurt and angry, Shahriyar remarried, but he was still bitter over his wife's infidelity. So, in his bitterness, he ordered his new wife to be killed the morning after their wedding. Shahriyar continued this for a long time.
(Some stories say over thousands of women
died, others say hundreds...remember, it's
a folk tale, told orally.) Scheherazade has no intention of simply dying to Shahriyar's madness, however. Scheherazade makes a plan to save her life.
On her wedding night, she tells Shahriyar
a story, but she leaves it on a cliff-hanger and
doesn't tell him the ending. Intrigued, Shahriyar lets her live until the next night. The next night, Scheherazade finishes the
story from the previous night...but starts a new one, and leaves it on a cliffhanger. However, by this time, Shahriyar has fallen in
love with her, and refuses to kill her. The two live happily ever after. Now that you know the story
of Scheherazade and Shahriyar,
take a moment and think...WHY would compassion and forgiveness be a common theme? compassion - a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
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