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An Odd Ending

jrlewis's picture

I finally finished reading my translation of "The Arabian Nights."  My text did not include a closing of the story of Shahrazad and the king.  The final story within the frame was unusual in many ways.  "The Story of Jullanar of the Sea" contains four strong female characters that balance the power of the four male characters.  The plot is also atypical in that it has elements very similar to the frame story.  There is a powerful monarch who takes lovers for a limited amount of time and then permanently maims them.  However, in the story within the story, the gender roles are reversed; the woman is the powerful partner.  The male lover, the hero, is able to escape from her harm.  It is a happily after ending, not unlike the translator's note about Shahrazad's marriage to the king.  Maybe the final story was an allegory?  A last lesson for the king?  A message to the reader?

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