One Thousand and One Nights; The Inferno

One Thousand and One Nights  

I’m not sure that we will fully understand Shahrayar’s madness. He just flat out lost his mind. After I read the story I found myself telling my family about it too. Mainly because I was like what the heck? What is the point of this guy slaughtering all these women, does it really make him feel better?

Shahrayar was wounded from the pain caused by his wife sleeping with the chef but he also was the King which destroyed any bit of pride he had left. That all the townspeople would see what a fool he was for his wife betrayed him. Therefore he felt the need to justify the situation and take control and sleep with a women and have her put to death the next morning. He did this not only to prevent himself from being cheated on again but to take control back over his town and gain back his pride.


  1. In the Tale of the Ox and the Donkey, the Donkey thought he was giving the Ox good advice of what to do in the morning to come to get out of the work for the day but it backfired on the donkey and the donkey was sent out to the field to be put to work in place of the Ox. This compares to the Vizier and his daughter. Shahrazad thinks she can stop the deaths of any more women so she insists to be sent to stay with the King. She might find her plan failing and dead the next morning.

The Tale of the Merchant and His Wife shows us as readers how much power the men own over women in this culture. The Visier used this story to threaten Shahrazad of what he will have to do to her in order to prevent her from going to the King.

The story of the Merchant and the Demon, the Demon seeks revenge for the death of his son who he claims the merchant killed his son. He says “I must kill you as you killed him- blood for blood.’ (Pg. 1063) This is what the King is proving, he is taking innocent blood from women who never cheated but only because his wife cheated on him. Shahrayar’s is able to put a stop to the killings of women by presenting the King with this story.

   The Inferno  

I think the penalties suffered are appropriate to the sins committed. I have never heard of Hell as somewhere somebody wants to go, it has only been described as fire and brimstone and it is a place where sinners are sent, they are not sent with the righteous to heaven. I do not believe that this is exactly what hell is like but the penalties do seem just, as for the sin you committed on earth it is dealt to you for the rest of your eternal life in hell. Life is not be taken for granted. Dante uses different levels of hell to show the different levels of sin. Which seems just, he includes biblical descriptions painting a picture of what hell could possibly be like.

3 thoughts on “One Thousand and One Nights; The Inferno

  1. sharissewatkins

    Shahrayar’s madness I think was just as uncalled for as Medea’s when she killed her children. She was hurt by her lover who was never really her’s in the first place, so at least Shahrayar has that going for him. But he killed a woman that had no fault in it. He wanted to bandage his pride and I get that, if that were to happen to me I would want to be childish and do something to make myself feel better. But leeeett’s be honest here, that’s over the top.

  2. Mary Filbin

    I also found myself talking this over with my family. My husband actually was applaud that I would ask if the male ego was this frail. He thought it was sheer insanity and any decent person could see the wrongs behind the actions of the King. As for Hell I can see a very biblical idea behind Dante’s descriptions as well.

  3. Jared

    I agree that this set of reading material was quite interesting and I couldn’t help, but discuss it with family and a couple people at work. The story of Sharayar and his madness was definitely over the top, but I believe that the importance of these stories is to teach lessons and by making an impact, they serve their purpose more directly. Dante probably influenced many ages of churches through eras post “The Comedy.” The imagery he uses is one of the remarkable facets of this literature that gained it such prestige worldwide. I too myself had always heard something more along the lines of fire and brimstone and after this read I have gained some perspective on the many possibilities that Hell could really have waiting…If one believes in that kind of thing, of course.

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