Arabian Nights

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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In The Arabian Nights, a collection of Arabic folktales, Shahrazad uses the "˜Chinese box effect' to connect her stories to one another in order to continue telling the story to King Shahrayar. The tale of the Husband and the parrot has number of tales that are related to each other tales and to the original story in many complex ways. The subtales of The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon focus on a particular theme, trust, with relations between the characters and the analogy of the situations. A close reading of The Tale of the Husband and the Parrot reveals this particular tale told by King Yunan to the vizier is placed in the book particularly to increase the importance of trust. By linking the tragic death of King Yunan to his distrustful action, Shrazad ultimately tries to convince King Shahrayar to make the right decision: not to kill Sharazad herself and other women.

The tale makes an analogy with the tale of the King Yunan and the sage Duban. It parallels the king to the husband and the sage to the parrot. The parrot appears as "intelligent, knowledgeable, smart and retentive,"� (p. 41) just like the sage is described in the story. By listing these adjectives about the parrot, the king emphasizes the parrot is a trustworthy bird that should not be killed. On the other hand, the king thinks the wife, who is "splendidly beautiful that she was perfect itself"� (p. 41) and does not let her husband travel and leave her behind, should not be trusted. King Yunan suggests that the vizier is playing a trick on him like the husband "had been tricked by his wife"� (p. 42). The effect of this clear analogy between the tales is that it leads the readers to...