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Sindbad the Seaman from “One Thousand and One Night”

If one looks for the stories that became famous in the West thanks to “One Thousand and One Night,” there is no need to look further than the seven tales of Sindbad the Seaman. They became widely popular in the West after the publication of the first translated editions in the late 18th century (Hoh, 2017). Moreover, they have been adapted multiple times, with the earliest cartoon adaptation going as far back as 1936 (Hoh, 2017). Given that, the chances are that even those who never read the collection itself will still be familiar with the character. This begs the legitimate question of why the travels of Sindbad became so enduring in the public imagination.

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Research suggests there are several parts to the answer. On the one hand, the stories are entertaining yet simple, generally following the same scheme. They begin with Sindbad embarking on a journey, continue with a disaster leading Sindbad to wondrous lands, and then end with the protagonist using his ingenuity and returning even richer (Hoh, 2017). However, apart from the purely entertaining value, Sindbad must have also earned his popularity because of the human values the stories promote. For example, at the end of the first journey, Sindbad is rescued by the same ship on which he began his travel.

He then finds out that the captain, while convinced of the protagonist’s death, did not take Sindbad’s wares (“Sindbad,” n.d.). Not only the captain refuses to profit from Sindbad’s death – he intends to sell the goods for the benefit of Sindbad’s supposedly orphaned family (“Sindbad,” N.d.). Upon being persuaded Sindbad is alive and stands in before him, he returns the goods willingly (“Sindbad,” N.d.). Thus, tales of Sindbad the Seaman are not merely fascinating adventure stories but also a moving praise of human honesty, which may explain their enduring popularity.

References

Hoh, A. (2017). The seven voyages of Sindbad the sailor. Library of Congress. Web.

Sindbad the sailor & other stories from the Arabian Nights (N. d.) Project Gutenberg. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Sindbad the Seaman from “One Thousand and One Night”." November 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/sindbad-the-seaman-from-one-thousand-and-one-night/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Sindbad the Seaman from “One Thousand and One Night”." November 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/sindbad-the-seaman-from-one-thousand-and-one-night/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Sindbad the Seaman from “One Thousand and One Night”'. 10 November.

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