The role reversal of gender power is demonstrated continually in The Thousand and One Nights in the Character Shahrasad. Using examples from the text demonstrate both her means of self preservation through this power and also give reasons why Arabic censors have omitted this work from their canon in terms of both female domination and immorality.
Gender power has demonstrated in The Thousand and One Nights in the Character Shahrasad is strong and significant. The role that gender power played in the text influenced greatly the reversal of the standards which the king adhered to after sleeping with the prior one thousand virgins (Muhsin, 2009.Pp. 86/87). This paper thus seeks to prove either right or wrong the role reversal of gender power as it is demonstrated in The Thousand and One Nights by the Character Shahrasad and the exclusion from the Arabs cannon as far as female dominance and immorality is concerned.
The character Shahrasad, managed to preserve her through gender power. She convinces the king that she has been able to make him happy by the folk tales she narrated in a thousand and one nights. She cried "O King of the Time and unique one of the Age and the Tide, I am thine handmaid, and these thousand nights and a night have I entertained thee with stories of folk” later which with the goal of preserving herself she requests to be preserved from death by asking “May I then make bold to crave a boon of thy Highness?” (McMichael, 2010, Pp. 246-251). This is a significant usage of gender power to preserve Character Shahrasad.
In addition, Character Shahrasad requested to given a chance to see her children before her death “Bring me my children” and upon receiving them she used gender power to preserve herself. She did this by stating to the king the following in an excerpt "O King of the Age, these are thy children, and I crave that thou release me from the doom of death, as a dole to these infants. For an thou kill me, they will become motherless and will find none among women to rear them as they should he reared" (McMichael, 2010, Pp. 246). From the above excerpts, the gender power role reversal in “The Thousand and One Nights” continued usage is proven as means of self preservation.
The Arabic censors had to omit their cannons from ‘the thousand and one nights” script as far as immorality and female domination is concerned. The reason for this include among others that these women were not dominating the script, instead, they were compelled to follow the king’s demands. We are told “every day Shahryar the "king" would marry a new virgin, and every day he would send yesterday's wife to be beheaded” (Mardrus, 1990. Pp. 321). The women were not dominating the script, instead they were involved due to the lack of options and the fact of the flame tale that the “king could marry a new virgin” every new day. This was not a case of female dominance but oppression.
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In addition, the Arabic censors had to omit their cannons from ‘the thousand and one nights” script based on the fact that female immorality is not dominant in the script, male is instead. It is the Persian king who practiced immorality till the a thousand night was over and he met Character Shahrasad in a thousand and one night as depicted in the following excerpt “The king had killed one thousand such women by the time he was introduced to Scheherazade” (McMichael, 2010, Pp.78). They are innocent women who the king was authorizing their beheading claiming that they had cheated on him because he expected them to be virgins when they got to his residence.
The script pinpoints that he killed after sleeping with the virgins each night and “this was done in anger, having found out that his first wife was betraying him”. The king’s first wife is alleged to have cheated on him but the kind of immorality demonstrated is not significant when compared to what the male did. It is proven in the excerpt that the king had slept with a thousand virgins and authorized their beheading before “he was introduced to Scheherazade” (Mardrus, 1990. Pp. 489). This is what could be regarded as immorality. Such factual information is what made the Arabic censors omit their cannons from “The Thousand and One Nights” as far as female immorality is concerned.
Based on the arguments presented above and proven by the excerpts or the texts from The Thousand and One Nights, gender power did influence the variation of the roles. Character Shahrasad managed to use opportunities to change the existing standards and evil practiced by the king. On the other hand, the Arabic censors had to omit their cannons from the book as far as female dominance and immorality is concerned. They lacked significant arguments on the issues.
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