Analysis Of ' A Thousand And One Nights '

999 Words Nov 19th, 2015 4 Pages
A Thousand and One Nights is a tale about the over-sexed east which is favored by the sexually repressed west when applied to and analyzed under the lens of Orientalism. This translation of the text, while not as sexually explicit as Sir Richard Burton’s translation, has its fair amount of sexual promiscuity which paints the middle eastern characters as dishonest, violent, and sexually deviant. These traits were seen as socially taboo to the west, especially those in Victorian Europe who helped the tale gain its reputation as a popular exotic story. The two main scenes where these traits come into play both take place within A Thousand and One Nights’ frame story with Shahrayar and Shahzarman. Shahzarman kills his adulterous wife and her lover then leaves to visit Shahrayar in his kingdom. When Shahrayar’s wife and servants are caught in the act they are killed and Shahrayar vows to kill his future brides on their wedding nights which is when Shahrazad attempts to bring him to his senses. The two brothers are extremely hot headed and violent and their wives are plagued by insatiable lust, which plays into the sexually charged barbarity perpetuated by Orientalism.
Throughout this paper I will be using Edward Said’s definition of Orientalism. Said defines Orientalism as the following:
“Orientalism can be discussed and analyzed as the corporate institution for dealing with the Orient—dealing with it by making statements about it, authorizing views of it, describing it, by…

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