In Colston’s school, year eleven has recently performed the play ‘Arabian Nights’, in which I played the roles of a sleeper, an envious sister, a forbidding voice, a little girl and a narrator. In the following essay, I am going to compare the differences and similarities between ‘Arabian Nights’ and the well known Shakespearean tragedy, ‘Macbeth’, which we studied earlier this year. Firstly, both ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Arabian Nights’ are set in very different places in different periods of time. ‘Macbeth’ was set in the 12th Century in Scotland where as ‘Arabian Nights’ was set in 1000 BC in the middle-east.
In both plays, the leading man is influenced in some way by a woman. Whilst Macbeth is tricked into committing acts of wickedness by his wife, and manipulated into the cruel and brutal murder of the king, The King in ‘Arabian Nights’ is changed by Scheherazade’s enchanting stories and becomes a worthy and respectable king once more. In ‘Macbeth’ the country suffers as a result of his actions. He expresses this by declaring that Cawdor will sleep no more, meaning that his crimes have effected nature and therefore affecting the whole country.
In ‘Arabian Nights’, women are too scared to go outside through fear that the King will marry them before shortly beheading them. Similarly to Macbeth, the Kings actions also affect the whole country. Both plays have a supper natural element. In ‘Macbeth’ the audience is compelled almost from the start to hate the witches as they see how the witched help determine Macbeth’s downfall, however in ‘Arabian Nights’ the audience are taken in by the magical sleepers and birds.
Although both plays contain supernatural factors, the witches in ‘Macbeth’ are seen as evil and vindictive where as the sleepers, birds and genies in ‘Arabian Nights’ are neither good nor evil, they are simply ‘being’. The structures of the plays are both very different, ‘Macbeth’ relies on a linear structure, meaning it is only one story however ‘Arabian Nights’ is told to us through lots of little stories, which are a self-contained.
Both Macbeth, and The King in ‘Arabian Nights’, fall from greatness due to character flaws or the influence of others, however, in ‘Arabian Nights’ The King is able to over come his weaknesses and recover from his downfall whereas by the time Macbeth realises his mistakes, it is too late for him to undo them. Macbeth and The Kings downfall were due to the actions of a woman. Macbeth’s wife forced him to commit the murder and consequently Macbeth’s mind became tortured and he was later killed. The King in ‘Arabian Nights’ only became evil and had women executed after he discovered his wife was having an affair.
The religions in ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Arabian Nights’ are completely different. In ‘Macbeth’ there is a strong Christian theme as Lady Macbeth tries to hide her actions from God. There is also some talk on the divine right of kings. In ‘Arabian Nights’, there is reference to ‘Allah’ who is from the Muslim faith. To conclude, there are a number of similarities and differences between ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Arabian Nights’, these include; setting; super natural elements; influence by a woman; fall from greatness; the effect their actions have on their country; religion; structure and many more.