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Literature Study GuidesThe Arabian Nights

The Arabian Nights | Study Guide

Andrew Lang

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Course Hero. "The Arabian Nights Study Guide." April 17, 2020. Accessed May 29, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Arabian Nights Study Guide," April 17, 2020, accessed May 29, 2023,



Andrew Lang

Years Published



Short Stories


Fairy Tales, Fantasy

At a Glance

Gathering centuries of storytelling from Iraq, India, Egypt, China, Iran, and other countries, The Arabian Nights—also called The Thousand and One Nights—portrays the medieval Islamic empire at the height of its glory. The famous frame story introduces brave storyteller Shahrazad, who delays her execution at the hands of a tyrannical king by enthralling him with a new tale every night. The stories range from fables and comic anecdotes to fantasies, legends, and tragic romances, blending mysticism and religious devotion in a collection unlike any other.

Perspective and Narrator

Most of the stories are narrated in third person because the fictional storyteller, Shahrazad, is relating them to King Shahrayar. Several characters within the stories tell their own stories, and these are narrated in third person or first person.


The stories are told in the past tense.

About the Title

The stories in The Arabian Nights come from Arabic-speaking countries and locations in the Arabian Peninsula. According to the frame story, the storyteller Shahrazad, King Shahrayar's newest bride, tells a new tale each night and finishes each story in the morning. Her husband, King Shahrayar, killed his former brides every morning, and Shahrazad wants to save her life by keeping him interested in the stories. The tales collectively make up the "Nights" of the title.


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