Saturday, April 6, 2013
SCHEHERAZADE and One thousand and One Nights
Scheherazade. This artful, imaginative, articulate, Persian Beauty is an inspiration as a woman who frees herself from male oppression by ingenuity, intelligence, and imagination.
So, here we have the King of Persia, Shahriyar. who decides the best way to take vengeance on his unfaithful wife is to kill her. Convinced that the only way to keep a faithful wife is to have her for only one night, he decides to take a different virgin every day and after taking her to the matrimonial bed at night, he then puts her to death in the morning. Story has it: 3,000 times.
Yes, the virgins weren't exactly lining up to be his wife.
But, being the King, he could summon any virginal beauty to his temporary bed of doom without a whisper of complaint. This massacre of virgins continues until along comes our heroine Scheherazade - beautiful virginal daughter of the grand vizier. She pleads with her father to let her go to the King to be his wife and that she has a plan in mind for her survival and consequently the survival of other virgin females under the King's domain. The grand vizier reluctantly agrees and Scheherazade, taking along her co-conspirator, (her sister) offers herself to the King.
On the evening of the Wedding Night, as planned, her sister begs the King that Scheherazade be allowed to finish a most enchanting story because she knows this will be the last opportunity for her to hear the ending. The King agrees and, as the story progresses, he becomes more intrigued and captivated by the reader and the story. Scheherazade moves into another story and with this one, he becomes even more mesmerized and oblivious to the breaking dawn. Scheherazade is careful not to finish the story, and desperate to learn the ending, Shahriyar gives her a stay of execution., The second night, Scheherazade finishes the story but quickly moves on to another, even more spell-binding than the before. Again the night passes and the story remains unfinished, with the King even more entranced and beguiled than before. Every night for one thousand and one nights, Scheherazade captivates the the King with her imaginative stories of Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad, and others (still enjoyed by us today) and with her eloquence of voice, and never quite reaching the end of the story that night, she continues to see another day. Eventually, realizing that he cannot part with Scheherazade, and finding vengeance long gone from his heart, he happily beds his wife each night and wakes to her in the morning. In between story-telling she also managed to give him three children.
The femme fatale connection and moral is: Always leave a man wanting more!