The Demon of 1001 nights

The demon in the story seems to represent King Shahrayar. The demon tells the story of how he was harmed and, in his opinion, wronged by King Solomon. Although it is in no way the fisherman’s fault that King Solomon threw the demon into the sea, the demon wishes to kill the fisherman. The demon has become set on punishing the innocent fisherman for the harm that others did to him long ago. This story mirrors that of King Shahrayar. Although the maidens whom he sleeps with every night have done him no wrong, he has decided that they are to be punished for his adulterous wife’s sins.

Numerous times within the intertwining stories Shahrazad incorporates the line “For God’s sake spare me, and God will spare you; destroy me, and God will destroy you’ (46). She does this to tug at the King’s conscience. She is once again educating him and pushing him to take responsibility for his actions.

The story which describes the way in which the young man became stone parallels King Shahrayar’s own experience. A young king, who loves and respects his wife dearly, finds that she has had an affair with a black slave. Rather than blaming the entire city, or killing young women, as King Shahrayar does, the young man goes to the source of his problem and wounds the black slave. Although the young man still gets revenge, he realizes that the masses are not to blame for his grievance.

In The Tale of King Yunan and the Sage of Duban, one of the stories within The Fisherman and the Demon, the Sage repeatedly begs King Yunan to spare him but the King refuses and puts the Sage to death. The King’s rage against the Sage ends in his own destruction. In this tale King Shahrayer is reminded of the phrase Shahrazad often repeats “spare me, and God will spare you; destroy me, and God will destroy you’.

At the end of The Fisherman and the Demon the Demon begs for the fisherman’s mercy. Although the demon has, in fact, done the fisherman wrong, the fisherman choses to show mercy on the demon and set him free. The demon keeps his word and honors the fisherman, sparing his life. Intertwined in this story is a clear message. King Shahrayar has a choice; although he has wronged many, as did the demon in the story, he is still able to repent and stop the killing.


One thought on “The Demon of 1001 nights

  1. jwmaring

    I thought your response was right on and mirrored my impression in many ways of what the parallels were between the fisherman and the demon and how Sharayar dealt with his wives. I thought it was funny we even incorporated the same quote; either we very much see eye to eye, or what we identified in our respective responses was in fact what the instructor was looking for. It’s always good to know your not totally in left field on these responses sometimes.

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