To be left with a sense of awe and wanting to know the full story, is for me an indicator of something great in measure. This is what I experienced after I was done with reading the assigned parts from The 1001 Nights and The Mahabharata, and this is why I would consider them to be amazing literary works. It is mind-blowing how these two works that have survived from thousand years old societies, can teach us life lessons to this day, when everything has evolved so far away from when they were written. These books’ quality of being relatable across countries and epochs is fascinating, as is the process of reading through stories about people with more or less the same flaws as everyone we know, even ourselves. To me, it is equally terrifying (almost) that it is people’s response to society which changes through time, but not so much their emotions and character traits. I can name off the top of my head a lot of petty, cruel King Shahrayars, beautiful and cunning Shahrazads, brave but arrogant Arjunas, kind Yudhishthiras, power-hungry Duryodhanas, noble Karnas, and so on, and so forth. Personally I relate to more than one of them, for different reasons. I can’t admit to enjoying every single part of these works. The 1001 Nights’ kind of fantasy and cultural elements suit me more than those of The Mahabharata’s, but I also liked the latter’s royal elements better. Apart from these personal taste matters, at times the books became not so interesting for me, and I can see how people can name this as evidence that old works are not as “great”. However, I would again look at the moral of each of the stories. If you have to skip the boring parts in order to get to what interests you in your readings, then I would say do it, because these tales are so immersive that you are bound to find a message within every few lines. Messages of love and devotion, loyalty, emancipation, or bravery. They are all written in their own strange way, with their own bizarre quirks and some questionable moments in-between. It is an opinion, but I believe that history is very important to each and every aspect of the world’s society. Reading such stories is a good way to learn as little as possible about various elements of lives we may never consider as part of our own bigger picture, without having to bore through dates, names, or difficult geography (each to their own). So then, my answer to whether The 1001 Nights and The Mahabharata could be considered great works, is yes.