There were two kings from Persian monarchies whom both married beautiful women. The kings changed their way of living because they were both deceived by their wives in different occasions. The king of the Persian in the Hebrew Bible by the name Ahasuerus, though known as Xerxers in his Greek name. Xerxes loved his wife and also, he used to flatter with her magnificent beauty. One day, he asked her to unveil to the prince’s feast as a sign of showing the equal sociality, but she refuses to do so; she says that was like going physically naked, and she could not agree to that. The king becomes very furious, and he is advised to execute her so as the other women would learn to obey their husbands. The king calls for the virgin girls so that he could choose one, and he chooses Esther, who hides her true identity (Torve 34). The other king is the king known as Shahrayar who discovered that his wife was not faithful to him, he gets angry and orders the killing of his wife and also, kills his girls slaves himself. From that day he swore to be marrying every night a virgin and then, have her killed in the next morning before she could betray him. As time goes on, virgins become scarce, and there is a woman whom volunteers to marry him that night. Sharazad says that she would use her wisdom, and she would not get killed so as to save the other remaining virgins (McCaughrean and Fowler, 45).
Comparison between the two heroines Esther and Sharazad: (Similarities)
Esther and Sharazad are both very smart and wise; when scrutiny is done, it is true that these ladies are very smart women. When Esther was being taken by his cousin Mordecai to the king feast of choosing his newly bride; she hides her true identity and also, changes her name from Hadassan to Esther. It was to be considered to come from the king's tribe (Coogan et al. 46). It saves her, and she gets favor in the eyes of the king. On the other hand, Sharazad, from the a thousand and one night is seen to be very wise. The first day she goes to the king, she knew that in the morning if she finishes her stories, she will get killed. However, she used to tell the stories without finishing them; this would leave the king with suspense and also, longed to hear more stories. It lasted for a thousand and one nights. Both are seen to be women of power, they have the ability to convince and also, to capture the attention of the kings.
In the stories of these two heroines, they both are working towards one goal. Esther in the Hebrew Bible and also, Sharazad from the thousand nights are working towards saving the lives of others and theirs too. It is whereby the time comes in the kingdom after she becomes the queen. Mordecai learns that the prime minister of the king wants to kill him and also, the other Jewish people. Modecai approaches the queen and begs her to intercede with the king to prevent the murder, though it was against the law (Coogan et al. 57). Esther and her people fast, pray for her courage. She went ahead to the king, and he welcomes him in his palace, then offers a feast for him and Naman his prime minister. At the feast, he tells the king what she wants. The king gets angry on an order of the killing of their enemy and the Jews are saved from him. On the hand, Sharazad with her stories, the king is delighted and changes to be a good person and there is no other killing of the virgins
The two women get married to the kings. In the stories of both women, they end up getting married to the kings due to their wisdom and good charms. Both Sharazad and Esther when they are trying to save their people they get the attention of the kings. The kings afterwards change in their moral behaviors and become kings to be emulated. We can see Sharazad changing his attitude towards women, and he comes to know that not all women are unfaithful. On the other side, Xerxes also adores Esther and offers to give her even half of his kingdom
The marriages of both Esther and Sharazad are as a result of the misfortune that happened at past by the king's wives. In the case of Esther, the king calls for a feast to choose a new wife after his wife disobeys him after refusing to unveil in front of the prince during the feast, the king gets angry and orders her to be executed. In this case, Esther becomes the king’s wife. On the other book of the thousand and one night came by when, Sharazad gets married to the king after the king’s wife commits adultery with a slave and the king feels deceived (McCaughrean and Fowler, 34).
Contrast of Esther and Sharazad:
Esther and Sharazad come from a different family setup as indicated in their stories. In the story of Esther in the Bible of Hebrews, we can see that Esther is being escorted by his cousin called Mordecai to the king's palace. There is no mentioning that her parents were alive in any way in her story, she was an orphan and was staying with Mordecai. Also, there is no mention of Esther having the siblings. On the contrary, Sharazad has a father who is mentioned, and he does not want Sharazad to volunteer to become the next king’s bride that night, but Sharazad insists. Sharazad also has siblings in her home.
Also, the story of Sharazad and Esther differ in that, when Esther is going to the king, she changes her name from Hadassan to Esther so as to hide her identity of being a Hebrew because the king was Jewish. On the contrary, to the case there is a difference, at no place Sharazad changes her identity. She goes to the king with her true identity.
In conclusion, of this project, the two heroines are portraying the ancient lives of the two kings in early Persia, King Shahrayar and King Xerxes whose lives had been ruined by their unfaithful wives. The two heroines Sharazad and Esther get married to these kings and change their attitude towards women.
Coogan, Michael D, Marc Z. Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins. The New Oxford
Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
Torve, Emanuel. The Greek and Hebrew Bible: Collected Essays on the Septuagint. Leiden:
Brill, 1999. Print.
McCaughrean Geraldine and Fowler Rosamund. One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.