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King Schahriar and His Brother

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by

Jane Too

on 20 April 2014

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Transcript of King Schahriar and His Brother

Now the Sultan Schahriar had a wife whom
he loved more than all the world
, and his greatest happiness was to
s
urround her with
s
plendour, and to give her the
finest dresses
and the
most beautiful jewels
. It was therefore with the
deepest s
hame and
s
orrow that he accidentally discovered, after several years, that she had deceived him completely, and her whole conduct turned out to have been so bad, that he felt himself obliged to carry out the
l
aw of the
l
and, and order the grand-vizir to put her to death.
The blow was so heavy
that his mind almost gave way, and he declared that he was quite sure that
at bottom all women were as wicked as the sultana
, if 20 you could only find them out, and that the fewer the world contained the better. So every evening he married a
fresh
wife and had her

strangled
the following morning before the grand-vizir, whose duty it was to provide these unhappy brides for the Sultan.
The poor man fulfilled his task with reluctance
, but there was no escape, and
every day
saw a
girl married
and a
wife dead
.

Learning Objectives
To explore the background of the text
To analyse the language, structure and tone in the text
Background
Is sometimes called "The Thousand and One Nights"
Is a famous collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories
Was originally written in Arabic and then translated to English
Was written during the Islamic Golden Age (over a thousand years ago)
Has no single author
The stories themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabia, Persia, India and Egypt
King Schahriar and His Brother
Summary
The story shows the fury of King Schahriar, who executes his wife and vows to marry a different woman every night only to have her killed the following morning, as he believed all women were wicked. The daughter of the King's chief minister, Scheherazade, is determined to save fellow women and offers herself to be the bride.
Grand-vizir
Scheherazade
Dinarzade
King (dead)
Sultan Schahriar
Schahzeman
Sultana (dead)
Draw ONE family tree in the space on pg. 54 of your anthology that includes all the following 7 characters. Include drawings.
The Arabian Nights
"King Schahriar and His Brother" is the first story in "The Arabian Nights".
It's the launch pad for the rest of the stories.
Purpose
To establish the context of the other stories
To introduce the main characters
In the chronicles of the ancient dynasty of the Sassanidae, who reigned for about four hundred years, from Persia to the borders of China, beyond the great river Ganges itself, we read the praises of one of the kings of this race, who was said to be the
best monarch of his time
.
His subjects loved him, and his neighbors [sic] feared him, and when he died he left his kingdom in a more
p
rosperous and
p
owerful condition than any king had done before him.
LONG SENTENCE
Mirrors how long ago the story took place, how ancient it is
Reader is transported further and further back in time as they read the long sentence
(POSITIVE) SUPERLATIVE HYPERBOLE
Shows grand respect his subjects had for him,
incomparable to any other king
Reads like a fairytale
LIST OF 3
Illustrates kingdom had perfect order, no chaos and no problems before Sultan Schahriar destroyed these things
STRONG "P" ALLITERATION
Portrays kingdom as indestructible and secure before
Sultan Schahriar took over, highlighting the contrast between the kingdom run by the father and son
The two sons who survived him loved each other
tenderly
, and it was a real grief to
the elder, Schahriar, that the laws of the empire forbade him to share his dominions
with his brother Schahzeman. Indeed, after ten years, during which this state of
10 things had not ceased to trouble him, Schahriar
cut off the country
of Great Tartary
from the Persian Empire and made his brother king.

?
?
Identify TECHNIQUE and EFFECT (ON READER).
LANGUAGE

STRUCTURE

TONE
"BLOW" = METAPHOR
Double meaning
- Physical blow that
kills the Sultana
- Emotional,
staggering impact of
losing his wife
King Schahriar is quick to judge; he can be seen as cruel, unforgiving and not at all open-minded in this part of the story. He doesn't view women as different unique individuals, but rather a blended group of "wicked" creatures
ADJECTIVE
Suggests he views women as meat that must be "fresh", young and pure upon marriage to him - sees women as having no value whatsover and having no human rights
His killing of girls is compared to the killing of animals for their meat = everyday, ordinary, acceptable, systematic
EMOTIVE LANGUAGE
Emphasises the agony each wife feels and that King Schahriar is violent and merciless
Generates sympathy from the reader for the helpless, doomed girls
?
?
"The poor man fulfilled the task with reluctance"
Grand-vizir is in a very difficult situatuion wherein he's torn between having to be the loving father of Scheherazade and the loyal minister of the sultan. Both are important to him.
"every day" "girl married" "wife dead"
Quick change from "girl" to "wife" emphasises the helpless girls' lives are sped up. They're forcefully hurried to grow older within just one night.
Quick change from "married" to "dead" - girls are stripped of all normal experiences and memories in life
"every day" - all this forced into cruelly short timespan
This behaviour caused
the greatest horror in the town
, where nothing was heard but cries and lamentations. In one house was a father weeping for the loss of his daughter, in another perhaps a mother trembling for the fate of her child
;
and instead of the blessings that had formerly been heaped on the Sultan’s head,
the air was now full of curses
.
(NEGATIVE) SUPERLATIVE HYPERBOLE
Emphasises how unacceptable and horrifying what King Schahriar did was.
Contrasts positive superlative at start ("the best monarch of all this time")
King Schahriar in no way lives up to how well his father ruled the kingdom
The grand-vizir himself was the father of two daughters, of whom the elder was called Scheherazade, and the younger Dinarzade. Dinarzade had no particular gifts to
distinguish her from other girls, but her sister was
c
lever and
c
ourageous in the
highest degree
.
Her father had given her the best masters in philosophy, medicine,
history and the fine arts, and besides all this, her beauty excelled that of any girl in the kingdom of Persia.

One day, when the grand-vizir was talking to his eldest daughter, who was his del
ight
and pr
ide
, Scheherazade said to him,
“Father, I have a favour to ask of you. Will you grant it to me?”

“I can refuse you nothing,”
replied he, “that is just and reasonable.”
“Then listen,” said Scheherazade. “I am determined

to stop this
barbarous practice
of the Sultan’s, and to
deliver
the girls and mothers from the
awful fate that hangs over them
.”

“It would be an excellent thing to do,” returned the grand-vizir, “but how do you propose to accomplish it
?


“My father,” answered Scheherazade, “it is you who has to provide the Sultan daily with a fresh wife, and I implore you, by all the affection you bear me, to allow the honour to fall upon me.”
Identify the technique and effect (on reader).
“Have you lost your senses
?

cried
the grand-vizir, starting back in horror. “What has put such a thing into your head
?

You ought to know by this time what it means to be the sultan’s bride
!


VERB
Links to "cries and lamentations" heard from mourning parents in the town earlier in the story
HIDDEN SORROW
EXCLAMATION MARK AND REPETITION OF QUESTION MARKS
Reveals his frantic panic and fear of losing her
Disbelief and no confidence in her decision - even her own father subconsciously doubts her ability as a woman to save the people
He doesn't directly address the fatal fate of marrying the sultan
May be too traumatising and heart-wrenching for him to think, let along TALK about
“Yes, my father, I know it well,”
replied
she, “and
I am not afraid to think of it. If I
fail, my death will be a glorious one
, and
if I succeed I shall have done a great
service to my country
.”

Common everyday VERB
She's calm and relaxed
Knows what she's doing inside out and is confident about the outcome
Sums up Scheherazade's character
Courageous, self-sacrificial and loyal to her country and its people
Opposite of how people (including the Sultan) portrayed women at the time (weak, incapable of skilled tasks, able to be taken advantage of)
Scheherazade defies, shatters and challenges the stereotypical views/image of women as well as gender inequality during that time period
What does this say about the grand-vizir's loyalty to the king?
The Superlative
Is the form of an adverb or adjective that expresses a degree of the adverb or adjective as being to the greatest possible degree
Is typically formed with the suffix "-est" (e.g. healthiest, weakest) or the word "most" (e.g. most recent, most interesting)
Jane, Sarah, Sasa, Andrew and Max T.
Identify the technique and effect (on reader).
LONG SENTENCE
Mirrors long list of neverending pain and problems Schahriar's kingdom is drowning in
?
?
"C" ALLITERATION
Demonstrates Scheherazade's confidence, strength and woman power
SUPERLATIVE
Scheherazade is greater than all women
She doesn't settle for being powerless and passive to Schahriar's evilness like the other women
LONG SENTENCE
Illustrates there is no end to Scheherazade's admirable qualities
OR
Mirror the long stories she's known to tell
DIRECT SPEECH
Extremely polite, reveals her great love and respect for her father
EMOTIVE LANGUAGE
"Barbarous" presents the King as a heartless, vicious monster who murders innocent girls. Stark contrast to when he used to be loving and showered the Sultana with dresses and jewels
VERB
Heroic act is effortless and natural to her, emphasising she is a natural-born hero
METAPHOR
Portrays their fate as an overhanging blade.
As if the women are forever under a guillotine,
agitatedly waiting for their fate to literally
fall upon them and kill them.
QUESTION MARK
Suggests her own father doubts her, emphasising
how incapable, weak, powerless and unintelligible
women were thought as being in that time
SCHAH-RADES
Courage
Stories
Marry
Siblings
Arabian
Strangle
Sultan
Death
Schah-boo
Full transcript