The world literature consists of many great books, but there are only few of them, which have a huge impact on the different spheres of our life. 1001 Nights is one of such books. The tales portray so many characters in such a colorful manner that every tale could easily be a separate book. Unexpectedly, women in the tales from the 1001 Nights quite differ from the ancient Middle Eastern women that were imagined by lots of the western writers. Some of the characters have priceless, still immortal values and are independent. On the other hand, such women’s features as cunning and treachery clarify the fact that these tales are not considered a real example of the Arabic literature, particularly for the Arabs. The stories presented in the book could illustrate the fight for women’s rights.
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Constant fight for rights could be a particular outline in the women from the 1001 Nights. There is a tendency for these women to be oppressed and find rather creative ways to stay alive, gain something, or just satisfy their desires. Scheherazade can be “a role model of women” as she wisely saved her life with the help of little cheating. When one story is finished, another one is begins, but the night is too short for both. Thus, in the morning, Shahryar still wants to hear the end of the story.
Such trickery is common to a lot of women from the tales. Some tales show not just cunning, but really cruel women. For example, the queen in the “Tale of the Enchanted King” kills her husband with a poison, because she had affairs with the black slave. Such stories are not rare. However, there are also a lot of examples of self-sacrifice and theophilanthropism. One of such stories is “The Story about a Woman with the Hands Cut Off”.
The story tells about a “king of the kings” and his prohibition to give the alms to anybody. Otherwise, the king promised to cut the hands off to anybody who breaks this veto. .However, there was one starving beggar. He came to a woman and asked something to eat. The woman was too scared, but finally she gave the poor man two flat cakes in the name of Allah. The king found out about this and cut off the woman’s hands. With time, the king decided to get married. However, the best woman to marry was the one he punished with cutting her hands off. Despites, the king married her, but his other wives were too jealous to let it happen. Therefore, they made a gossip about that woman to be a profligate (the woman has born a son for the king). The king was in rage and ordered his mother to take that poor woman and her baby to the desert. The order was accomplished. The way through the desert was long and bitter. Unfortunately, a child dropped in to the water when she wanted to slake her thirst. The woman was crying her heart out, when the two men came. They helped her to bring her son and even her hands back, in the name of Allah. When she asked them who they were, they happened to be the two flat cakes she gave to the beggar.
The story tells not only about a woman. It lauds to the skies the power of faith. While praising the Lord (no matter, Allah, or somebody else), all the circumstances are surmountable. The woman in this story acts like a symbol of sympathy, selflessness, and helpfulness. Love for the neighbor can be unpardonable. The woman shows a perfect example of resistance to the “gifts” she receives from life. However, there is one thing, which cannot be perfectly understood, and this is her marriage. The king ordered to cut her hands off making her a cripple. Probably, an all-absorbing power of love was the reason. On the other hand, it could be just a mortal fear of the king. The third reason could be the love to Allah and reluctance to incense him. No matter what the reason is, the woman makes her choice. This choice, however, does not bring anything really good to her life, except the birth of a son. She can be regarded as a victim, because everything turns against her. On the other hand, her continuous sorrows are praised in the name of Allah.
Scheherazade is a wise woman. She told the stories, which made everybody fall of thinking. The story and this woman as a character are very illustrative. She (unfortunately, there are no names in most of these tales) shows all the features that people lack nowadays. Surely, there is a miracle at the end of the story, but this miracle makes everybody believe in the true power of faith. There is no punishment for a cruel king. However, there is an unwritten punishment: he is deprived of the woman he loved and of the child she gave him. Believing in gossips is not an honor to anybody. Resistance to them is a real honor. This woman is not afraid to lose something, if she is able to help somebody who is in need. She is not afraid of public opinion, because she knows she is pure. This woman is an example of what a real Arabic woman as well as a woman of any other nationality should be. What is more, gender bias is also inept, because sympathy has no sex.
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