Silence in Arabian Nights

1038 Words5 Pages
Victoria Rodriguez ENG. 355 Proff. Kelman March 15, 2012 Silence as Power in Arabian Nights Throughout history, women have been given very little. They have been expected to work in the background. Their place has never been treated as that of an equal place next to men. Many suffered silently, but in the book, Arabian Nights, translated by Husain Haddawy, we see a very different kind of woman. Shahrazad is the main character of this book, whose stories are the key to the salvation of her people. Although in her stories most women characters play the role of silent or cunning and manipulative, (out only to harm their men), Shahrazad uses silence to help save her people and help her King to regain trust in women. There are many types of silence used in this book, but the most important is silence in terms of a cessation of speaking. This cessation is used to capture the King’s intrigue and change his ways. The first part of the book where we witness silence is when Shahrazad speaks to her father. She tells him of her idea to save the people, she wishes to be wed to a homicidal King. He implores her not to, and tells her a story of “The Merchant and His Wife.” While the wife wants her husband to tell her his secret, it could mean his death; this leads him to another alternative, to force silence that he wants, upon her. “[He] taking an oak branch, pushed his wife into a room, got in with her, and locked the door. Then he began to beat her mercilessly on her chest and shoulders and kept beating her until she cried for mercy, screaming, No, no. I don’t want to know anything, Leave me alone, leave me alone.”(15). This story is a threat to Shahrazad; her father does not agree with her wishes and threatens to silence her if he is disobeyed. Yet he listens to his daughter patiently and in the end is convinced by her. This silence did not agree with
Open Document