1. Shahrayar’s madness is based on frailties of character that are unique to him. It is clear to see that any man that experienced what he first did with his wife would have been stricken with grief. This is seen by his brother first encountering his own troubles. However, his brother does not allow madness to overtake him. I think that Shahrayar viewed himself as above the reaches of infidelity. As the king, I think he found it unfathomable that anyone would see him as less than the ultimate to be desired. He most likely thought that any woman would have gladly married him and stayed faithful. Ay other man would be able to realize, more readily, the possibility of being cheated on.
2. The animals in The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey and The Tale of the Merchant and His Wife are able to communicate with each other and affect change in behavior among each other and humanity. In The Story of the Merchant and the Demon animals are subject to humanity. Their fate is based on the wills of those who own them and who have more power over them. This power usually comes from witchcraft and malice. Also, in the latter, it is only the women who possess the powers to cast spells and understand the animals, whereas in the first story, it is the man who understands the animals. In The Story of the Merchant and the Demon, there are two distinct types of women. There are the ones that intend evil and the ones who inform and help save those who are in bad situations. These animals mirror the overall story of The Thousand and One Nights because the animals in the first stories act among themselves to try to get what they want, like all the women that Shahrayar encountered at the beginning of the story, whereas the animals in the third story are helpless unless someone intervenes on their behalf, like the women who are killed by Shahrayar before Shahra
3. Honestly, I do not believe that the sufferings were appropriate. I think that there is no way to rate the evil of one sin to another. I think that they are all just as worthy of the same kind of treatment and suffering. I can, however, understand why Dante would put some sins above others, as that is how most people would rank them. But I think that it is not up to us to determine the appropriateness of punishments. Also, I don’ believe that people commit only one kid of sin. This makes no sense to me as to how it would be decided as to which circle they would end up in.