The dozens of stories in The Arabian Nights, gathered over the centuries from India, Persia, and Arabia, were originally an oral tradition with specific authors unknown. Narrated by Shahrazad, the king’s new wife, the tales are her lifeline. If the king loses interest, he will put her to death. The stories include fables, fairy tales, romances, comedies, and histories, woven into a tapestry that has lasted for centuries, enlightening readers about the life and customs of the ancient Islamic world. The entertaining and often lewd and violent tales juxtapose prose and verse, realism and the supernatural, wealth and poverty, animals and masters, cruelty and kindness, and crimes and punishments.


Read the chapter-by-chapter Summary & Analysis, a Full Book Summary, or Full Book Analysis of The Arabian Nights.


See a complete Character List for The Arabian Nights, as well as in-depth analysis of its most important characters.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the main themes, motifs, and symbols in The Arabian Nights.


Here's where you'll find important quotes from The Arabian Nights and explanations of them.