The Thousand and One Night, Dante’s Inferno

1.     The story of Shahrayar represents a common point in anyone’s life, in which humans tend to stereotype individuals based on personal or historical suffering experiences.  The king Shahrayar, after finding that the queen cheated on him, and that his brother’s wife cheated on his brother also, made a stereotype of all women  by saying that all women were the same way.  In their journey in trying to find someone’s disgrace worst than the one they had, they found a woman, who was a demon’s slave, that was kept with locks in the demon’s chest, managed to cheat on the demon 100 times.  This was of motive for the king to believe that if such woman was able to do so in such a hard position, then there was no way a man could escape of the cheating actions of women.  The only way, the king thought, would be to kill the woman, after being with her for one night.  To me, Shahrayar’s madness does not make any sense, because he did not took in consideration any women in his life that did good to him, but only this woman (the queen) that did wrong to him, and also he did not stop any moment to consider the possibility that he as a human, could be wrong in his point of view.  However, this arrogance I cannot know if it is because he is a man or because he is a king.  However, I went and asked several man what they would have done in Shahrayar’s position, and they  all said they would have done the same thing since that’s a common thinking among men.  Therefore I asked, why they have not done so at the present society, and they replied, because they are not kings.  So, maybe it is a combination between male ego and the position in the society, but for that, we may need a good statistical analysis.

2.   The tale of the Ox and the Donkey was an analogy that the vizier was telling to his daughter to make her understand that there was a possibility in that she could be wrong, and that just because she had planned and calculated how to change the king’s mind, does not mean that she could know the future intentions of the king.  In the same way, the Donkey miscalculated the intentions of the merchant, thinking that if the Ox did the same thing the Donkey did, both would be living the life, and it turned out that the merchant told the plowman to put the Donkey to do the Ox’s work.

The tale of the merchant and his wife was a threat the vizier was making to his daughter, in that if she did not desisted of her ideas, he was going to beat her.  The merchant had a secret, he was able to understand the language of the animals, that could not be reveal to anyone by the order of the gods, or he would die.  His wife wanted to know his secret anyways, even after knowing that he was going to die.  The merchant heard an animal saying that the merchant needed to beat his wife to the point that she would cry out that she no longer wanted to know his secret, and this way she would never opposed him in anything ever again.  After hearing this, the merchant did so.    The vizier told his daughter this story because her decision was in opposition to his.  It shows the cultural idea that women are supposed to do what men said, and cannot argue against men, or they are deserving of punishment.

The tale of the merchant and the demon shows how both, men and women make mistakes equally, and how although some women were bad, others were good.  Is a more different worldview, in that humans, in general, no matter the gender, can be bad or good.  For example, in the tale of the man with the dogs, his brothers were the ones that did bad to him, they tried to kill him, and a woman, the demon, was the one that saved him.  It was a  smart way to change the king’s worldview, in that men and women, can be evil or good, is up to the person, and not based in gender.

3.   The allegories in Dante’s inferno are able to demonstrate the characteristics embedded in each sin.  For example, in the second circle of hell, are those that lived their life in lust, and are punished with a violent storm that throws their body violently.  Such is an allegory, that compares this individuals, as having no control of themselves and giving it all to lust, such as one would have no control of one’s body, in the middle of a violent storm.  In the third circle, are the gluttons being punished, with different types of weather, cold and dirty hail, rain and snow.  To me, this is a right punishment, because someone that is a glutton wants to be in control of the food all the time.  If you were to be in a situation of scarce food, the glutton will kill you first by not sharing the food and eating it all at once, they feel in control of your life  by doing so. Severe weather conditions is something humans cannot be in control of, and could never be, so is a good punishment.  Therefore, I agree with Dante’s inferno in the type of punishments, but I do not believe that some sins are worse than others as are portrayed in this comedy.


One thought on “The Thousand and One Night, Dante’s Inferno

  1. gpetrie

    I think all of your answers were well thought out and interesting. However, unlike what you said in your answer to number 3, I think that some sins are worse than others and that some deserve more severe punishments than others.

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