The Thousand And One Nights: An Analysis

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The Thousand and One Nights is a compilation of Arabic and Asian tales from the Golden Age of Islam. The many adaptions, spinoffs and pieces of art influenced by Nights illustrate the universal appeal of this tome of Arabic literature. While a considerable amount of the literature found within this collection has not reached universal recognition, some works have. The ubiquity of some stories widely associated with Nights such as; Sinbâd and the Seven Voyages or The Tale of the Hunchback, illustrate the timelessness and universality of Nights, a universality that is nearly unrivalled. The universality and timelessness of the stories found within The Thousand and One Nights can be attributed to three literary elements,…show more content…
Thus stories and folktales that were once unrelated are now inexorably and forever linked via the plight of Scheherazade and her struggle to stay alive. In essence, Scheherazade is telling a series of stories to delay her execution, and save her life as well as the lives of countless others (Nights, 2007). This overarching frame story, forces the reader to be invested in each story. If we are not entertained by the tales told each evening, is the sultan Shahryar? One bad story or folk tale could result in Scheherazade losing her life. This aforementioned point of tension, which can only be developed by the use of a frame narrative, results in the reader developing an emotional attachment to Scheherazade and her success. This is not a culturally specific effect of Nights, rather this emotional investment transcends culture, era and language barriers due to the frame stories appearance as a spoken narrative (El-Shamy, 2004). In essence by stylizing the frame story as a spoken narrative the author adds an element of coherence to an otherwise unorganized and unrelated collection of texts. This narration achieves a twofold effect; it achieves a certain aesthetic that is universally loved and it adds an element of comfort, as the reader is now being spoken to instead of simply reading these
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