Arabian Nights, A Reflection Of Changes In Hierarchies And Effective Storytelling

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Animal Frontiers in the Arabian Nights, A Reflection of Changes in Hierarchies and Effective Storytelling

The concept of digression is explored and mastered by Shahrazad throughout the sets of stories that comprise The Arabian Nights. Unlike the stories of Jaques and his Master, in Jaques the Fatalist, where digression plays well in a journey without a specific purpose, the stories of Shahrazad and her use of digression has a clear objective. The main character of The Arabian Nights, Shahrazad, makes use of her abilities as an effective storyteller to keep her audience engaged with a perfect sense of Kairos that achieves several purposes: arousing the King´s curiosity and keep it lingering, keeping herself alive, establishing her own
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In a traditional point of view, humans are “above” animals, but the ability of the merchant to understand the animals defies the traditional hierarchy. This decentralization of the relationship between a human and an animal is significant in the fact that the words of a rooster end up influencing the actions of a person (the merchant). The rooster represents the traditional patriarchal concept of male “superiority” over female since he discusses a stern piece of advice with a dog, after he “jumped on a hen and, finishing with her, jumped down and jumped on another” (Haddawy, 19), displaying a behavior of control and disrespect over the opposite sex. The rooster indirectly advises the merchant, through his conversation with the dog, to “fall on her” (referring to the merchant´s wife) (19) and beat her with an oak branch until she has no desire to question her husband´s actions. The merchant heeds the words of the rooster, and reestablishes the hierarchy of male over female dominance by using impulsive and violent animal like brutality. Yet, the hierarchy of human-reason dominance over animalistic behavior was diminished after the merchant followed the advice of his cock. The Tale of the Merchant and the Demon also explores changes of hierarchies related to the crossing of human-animal border. In the First Old Man´s Tale, the infertile wife of the old man, driven by her jealousy, causes the death of the old man´s mistress, and

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