Tales From a 1001 Nights - WOmen

399 Words2 Pages
The Façade of the Weak Surprisingly, Tales From The Thousand and One Nights portrays women in a manner contrary to what many Westerners would stereotype ancient Middle-Eastern women as. Some are independent and many share what most would consider valuable, yet immoral qualities. There are stereotypical examples of the ancient Middle-Eastern women, but these are few and far between. The cunning and treacherous women in the stories contribute to the fact that these stories are not considered legitimate Arabic literature by the Arabs themselves. However, these stories are the mostly read Arabic literature in parts of the world which recognize women’s rights. There seems to be a particular pattern in the women of Tales From The Thousand and One Nights. Women in these stories tend to be oppressed and need to find creative ways of staying alive, gain material wealth or power, or to simply feed upon their desires. Shahrazad uses her brilliant ability to tell stories and leave cliffhangers to the king to stay alive in the main story. In the story of the first brother of the barber a women uses her sexual prowess to get free clothing, a practice still seen today. The queen in “Tale of the Enchanted King” poisons her husband so she can have her affair with the black slave. Obviously the abovementioned women depart from the gender-roles of the time. Those gender-roles being women as inferior, passive, and subservient to men in ancient Middle-Eastern culture. There are parts of the book which women do portray the typical female gender-roles of the time. The story of Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp exhibits such behavior. Aladdin’s mother obeys all of his commands and seems to live vicariously through Aladdin. Princess Badr al-Budur submissively agrees to whatever arranged marriage her father decrees. Tales From The Thousand and One Nights exhibits proof that women
Open Document