Shahrayar -The Thousand and One Nights

Shahrayar is a character from the Thousand and One Nights Indian stories who ruled over a Persian empire in India. Shahrayar marries his wife, but later discovers her in the arms of another man, prompting him to kill both the wife and the man. Following the incident, Shahrayar believed that all women would end up the same, so he made the crazy decision to sleep with a new virgin every night, ensuring her decapitation the next day, thereby calling him insane. The king’s key objective in making his move was to stop betrayal. Similarly, the king love for one woman can be seen as a man’s vulnerability; it’s the main reason behind Shahrayar madness making him a scrawny leader.

The community that Shahrayar ruled believed that female gender is inferior and is a ‘tool’ designated to fulfilling a man’s sexual desires. The society was also dominated by jealousy, misogyny, and Sexual vehemence. Misogyny which entails deep-seated preconception against women is evident in the kings’ act of killing women after sleeping with them. The community believed that the king had the power and liberty to undertake whatever he coveted without questioning which contributed to the abuse of power for self-gain and dictatorship.

Leaders are ordained to make an equitable decision which favors and works for the furtherance of the society. The Shahrayar decision to instigate marrying a new woman each day and kill them was compelled by anger after the wife squealed him. If the king made a rational decision, he could have peacefully divorced his wife and remarry where no one would have lost his/her life. As (Borges 570) state the kings’ initiative was idiotic and was driven by selflessness and male ego. Borges added that a leader ought to stand firm despite the overwhelming challenges and avoiding making judgment out of anger.

Additionally, the king had a choice to spare the life of the man who had an affair with the wife. The Shahrayar judgment to kill him termed him as a feeble leader who could not make a rational decision when his welfare is affected. The act which was motivated by jealousy depicted the wickedness, low sense of humanity and value for life. The king disregarded the need for human life and made a wrong verdict to pursue justice which is a rash move and labels Shahrayar as a coward (Heath 14).

In the story, after Scherezade courageously married the king, she began telling phenomenal tales every evening continuing till dawn which hoarded her from being executed. At that moment the king had a dilemma, he would wish to kill her, but he also needed her to finish the tales which become interesting each dawn. Scherezade would suspend the story at the point when it got interesting which would make the king append her death sentence until he got fond of her after a thousand and one days and spared her life. The choice to save once life expresses the value of life and willingness to live a life that does not cause harm to others. The Scherezade bond move disrupted the mind of the king saving many women lives which would have been taken due to the king’s cruel decision (Leeuwen 190).

The harsh consequences people face in their day to day lives are as a result of the choice they made at one point in life. It’s decisive to understand that every decision has its repercussion which might have a positive or adverse effect on our lives. From the story, The Thousand and One Nights, Scherezade decided to tirelessly spend sleepless nights telling tales to Shahrayar for years while the king suspended his death day by day.The aftermath of the struggle earned her Shahrayar trust that eventually instigated him to spare her life. After having outlived the battle, Shahrayar actions evident the yield Scherezade brawl where he decided to spare her life. As (Fishburn 218) describes, the choice the king made revived the sense of humanity and trust where his heart slowly healed of anger and the hatred towards women seized.

From the story and the Shahrayar character, we can conclude that leaders whose rulings are driven by anger end up putting the lives of innocent people in danger. Equally, the decisions made by Shahrayar in the book impacted negatively on the life of women in the society. The societal perception, male ego, and dictatorial administration were the contributing factors that led the community to the king’s evil menace. As evident from the (Fishburns 220) description of Shahrayar choices, the inferences we make ought to be derived from our inner-selves and be geared toward the well-being of our fellow humans other than cause harm.

Work Sited

Borges, Jorge Luis, and Eliot Weinberger. “The Thousand and One Nights.” The Georgia Review 38.3 (1984): 564-574.

Fishburn, Evelyn. “Traces of the Thousand and one nights in Borges.” Middle Eastern Literatures 7.2 (2004): 213-222.

Heath, Peter. “Romance as Genre in” The Thousand and One Nights”: Part II.” Journal of Arabic Literature 19.1 (1988): 1-26.

Leeuwen, Richard Van. “The art of interruption: The Thousand and one nights and Jan Potócki.” Middle Eastern Literatures7.2 (2004): 183-198.

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