Sheherazade: Wikis


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Scheherazade
شهرزاد
One Thousand and One Nights character
1001-nights.jpg
Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryar.
Portrayed by Mili Avital, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Claude Jade, María Montez, Cyrine Abdelnour, Sulaf Fawakherji
Information
Gender Female
Specialty Storytelling
Occupation Queen consort
Family Chief Vizier (father)
Dunyazad (sister)
Spouse(s) Shahryar
Children 3 sons
Religion Sunni Islam
Nationality Persia
Other names Shahrazad, Shahrzād, Šahrzād

Scheherazade (pronounced /ʃəˌhɛrəˈzɑːd(ə)/), sometimes Scheherazadea, Persian transliteration Shahrazad or Shahrzād (Persian: شهرزاد Šahrzād, Arabic Šahrazād), is a legendary Persian queen and the storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights.

Contents

In the narration

The frame tale goes that every day Shahryar (Persian: شهريار or "king") would marry a new virgin, and every day he would send yesterday's wife to be beheaded. This was done in anger, having found out that his first wife was betraying him. He had killed three thousand such women by the time he was introduced to Scheherazade, the vizier's daughter.

In Sir Richard F. Burton's translation of The Nights, Shahrazad was described in this way:

"[Shahrazad] had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of by gone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred."

Against her father's protestations, Scheherazade volunteered to spend one night with the King. Once in the King's chambers, Scheherazade asked if she might bid one last farewell to her beloved sister, Dinazade, who had secretly been prepared to ask Scheherazade to tell a story during the long night. The King lay awake and listened with awe as Scheherazade told her first story. The night whiled away, and Scheherazade stopped in the middle of the story. The King asked her to finish, but Scheherazade said there was not time, as dawn was breaking. So, the King spared her life for one day to finish the story the next night. So the next night, Scheherazade finished the story, and then began a second, even more exciting tale which she again stopped halfway through, at dawn. So the King again spared her life for one day to finish the second story.

And so the King kept Scheherazade alive day by day, as he eagerly anticipated the finishing of last night's story. At the end of one thousand and one nights, and one thousand stories, Scheherazade told the King that she had no more tales to tell him. During these one thousand and one nights, the King had fallen in love with Scheherazade, and had had three sons with her. So, having been made a wiser and kinder man by Scheherazade and her tales, he spared her life, and made her his Queen.

Name

The earliest forms of Scheherazade's name include Šīrāzād (شیرازد) in Masudi and Šahrāzād (شهرازاد) in Ibn al-Nadim, the latter meaning "she whose realm or dominion (شهر šahr) is noble (ازاد āzād)". In explaining his spelling choice for the name Burton says, "Shahrázád (Persian) = City-freer; in the older version Scheherazade (probably both from Shirzád = lion-born). 'Dunyázá' = world-freer. The Bres[lau] Edit[ion] corrupts the former to Shárzád or Sháhrazád; and the Mac[naghten] and Calc[utta] to Shahrzád or Shehrzád. I have ventured to restore the name as it should be." [1]. Having introduced the name Burton does not continue to use the diacritics on the name.

Historical prototypes

The nucleus of these stories is formed by an old Persian book called Hezar-afsana or the "Thousand Myths" (Persian: هزارافسانه).

Scheherazade was identified, confused with, or partly derived from the legendary queen Homāy, daughter of Bahman, who has the epithet Čehrzād or Čehrāzād (چهرازاد) "she whose appearance is noble". Harun al-Rashid's mother, Al-Khayzuran, is also said to have influenced the character of Scheherazade.

See also

References

  1. ^ Burton, Richard F. The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Burton Club, p.14, footnote.

External links


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