March 5th, 2012
Arabian Nights Essay
Fantasy our Daily Determination
The art of storytelling is the oldest and most captivating art form man has ever produced. Each and every one of us has been lead on a path by a story so unique that each path can only be traveled once with no chance of return or pause along the way. The reason these stories create a one-time offer is due to the mysterious element of fantasy that no man can ever lack or cease to exist. Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Though formal in definition the fantasy defined above is only the tip of the ...view middle of the document...
Stories involving fantasy can both be argued to be beneficial and detrimental in shaping our realities today, but the one thing we cannot dispute is that fantasy captivates our minds and brings us together as individuals determined to fight like Sinbad for our every want and desire.
In “The Arabian Nights” the main storyteller, Shahrazard, a woman held by the Sultan and on the verge of death every day, is able to postpone her fate each night for one thousand and one nights by entrapping the Sultan in her stories of fantasy. Although the Sultan is portrayed as a ruthless murderer who is selfish and without reason, Shahrazard uses fantasy to quell his impulses and begins to form a connection between herself and the Sultan by initiating parallels between the stories and their own realities.
While reading stories from “The Arabian Nights” many people do not realize that the underlying theme is not these fantastic elements but actually storytelling in itself. In both “The Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor” and “The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad” stories are told within the story by characters of the story. This aspect is very interesting and was brought to light by amateur author, Sarah Ellis, who decided to partake in a forty-eight hour reading of “The Arabian Nights” on a retreat with thirty-nine other enthusiasts. In the midst of listening to tellers’ depiction of their favorite “Arabian Nights” story, Ellis realizes that, “we are actually telling a story within a story within a story; we were storytellers telling stories about storytellers” (2). Although this seems a bit far-fetched and irrelevant it is that type of thinking that leads many readers and listeners to miss this concept. Sinbad telling stories of his voyages to the porter and the storytelling by the three ladies and visitors provides a perfect example of how people connect to stories of fantasy and use that connection to not only better understand the teller and their desires but also understand their own. In looking deeper into the stories told by Sinbad we realize that some of these stories are very similar to ancient Greek stories involving Polyphemus and Aristomenes. These allusions illustrate once again how fantasy is used again and again in the aspect that Sinbad uses past fantasy stories in his own reality, and now as we read Sinbad’s stories involving fantasy and connecting them to our own reality of everyday overcoming obstacles to obtain our own “riches”.
The use of fantasy in stories like “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “Aladdin and the Magical Lamp” readers learn about how knowledge and smarts can overcome power and also how courage and responsibility are essential tools for success. Each story produces different values that readers young and old can relate to. In the story of Aladdin, a poor boy comes across a magic lamp with a genie that grants his every wish until it is stolen from him, and he is then forced to fight to get back his princess and...