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Base on The Epic of Gilgamesh and One Thousand and One Nights, how

do words (or narratives) contribute to bringing about change or transformation in people or society? Are there any limitations to the transformative power of words in these two stories. Correction and suggestions.


Words play a significant role in our daily lives and societies since the beginning of time. One person's narrative can change people's behavior or personality for good or bad. The tangible examples are in the oldest poems and epics. In the Epic of Gilgamesh and The Thousand and One Nights, both kings' characters have changed because of narratives. Those two examples confirmed the power of words.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh and, The Thousand and One Nights, both main characters came back to reality and became ordinary people because of the power of words. In the epic of Gilgamesh, until the death of his friend Enkidu, Gilgamesh never fears anything, even the gods. His friend's death makes him fear for his life. This state of fact takes him to his last quest. In the quest for immortality, only Utanapishtim, the immortal, convinced Gilgamesh not by force but with narration. In these words, Utanapishtim told Gilgamesh about the gods, "They established death and life, they did not reveal the time of death." (Page 66). After that, Utanapishtim explained to Gilgamesh how he and his wife got the secret immortality. The narrative also played an essential role in changing the personality of King Shahrayar.
In the Thousand and One Nights, king Shahrayar went from a lovely kind to a cruel one. After discovering his wife's affair with the slaves, Shahrayar killed her and her lovers. He became cruel and decided to sleep with one girl every night and execute her in the morning. Once he decided to sleep and kill his kingdom's girls, king Shahrayar sworn not to go back on his words. He started sleeping with his kingdom's girls and killing them. Only Shahrazad, the vizier's daughter that was smart and well-cultivated with the art of speech, decided to save the kingdom's girls. She did not reach her goal by force, sorcery, or taking anyone's life. She did so by the art of speech. Shahrazad will buy time with the king on telling him unfinished stories every night until they spent one thousand and one nights from where the story drew its title. Every night after telling the unfinished story, Shahrayar grant her another night on this term to himself, "By God, I will not have her put to death until I find out what happened." (Page 1104). The power of Shahrazad's narrative made the king reverse his words, on sleeping with a girl every night and execute her the following morning.
In these two stories, both kings' personalities change drastically. From cruelty toward the people of their kingdoms, they became ordinary loving people. They change for good; this shows how powerful our words influenced our daily lives and societies. These extreme changes in these personalities show that there are no limits on words' effects. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the king on his back, Uruk, started talking nicely to Ur-Shanabi, the boatman, until they reach Uruk. When to Shahrayar, he went from hate to love all this because of Shahrazad's powerful narrative. Shahrayar went from reminding Shahrazad of her time for death every morning until one thousand, and the first nights the king fall in love, and she became a queen.
In both stories, the narratives of both interlocutors have played a significant role in changing both kings' personalities. They went from extreme cruelty without mercy to regular and everyday people with heart. This metamorphic shows the power behind the words that come out of our mouths daily. When the act joins the narrative, it becomes a potent tool, and this is the example of Shahrazad. Words influence our personalities and societies for evil or good. So, we need to pay attention to what we say, especially in this divided world.    
Works Cited
The Norton Anthology: World Literature. Volume 1, Shorter Fourth Edition, W.W Norton & Company, New York. London, 2019.

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