What specific examples does The Thousand and One Nights tell us about the statues of women in Arabian society? How does the men view women then and now?

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, it's not pretty. The women are treated as complete sexual objects and the property of men. Here are three prime examples from "The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad."

1) "What do you want, slut? Here is Sa'ad al-Din Mas'du." She laughed and fell on her back, while the slave mounted her and like the others did his business with her."

2) "Take that wife of mine and put her to death." Then Shahrayar went to her hmself, bound her, and handed her over to the vizier, who took her out and put her to death."

3) Shahrayer sat on his thorne and ordered his vizier, the father of the two girls, to find him a wife amont the princes' daughters. The vizier found him one, and he slept with her and was done with her, and the next morning he ordered the vizier to put her to death."

Things have come a long way since then, but many would argue that the disparity between Arabian men and women still is problematic. A recent article from "The Economist" may provide some insight. Here is an excerpt (a link is below):

It was called a national dialogue, but to western eyes it was a strange kind of conversation. From June 13th-15th, in Medina, Saudi Arabian women and men discussed how women's lives could be improved. The women, however, were invisible to the men, except on a television screen.…

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The Arabian Nights

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