Destiny And Fate Essay, Research Paper
Destiny and Fate
Destiny or fate is a very curious thing. In this book we can see the enormous effects that fate can have on a person or a group. All throughout Sundiata an Epic of Old Mali the pangs of fate ring true. When writing a book like this or even by reading it one will always know the fate or outcome of the hero. It is interesting that the reader keeps reading even though the outcome is evident. This perhaps illustrates how Maghan Kon Fatta, Sogolon, Sundiata, and his followers perhaps felt. The reader knows what s going to happen, but he reads on. These people knew what was going to happen so they kept on with their plight. Sometimes they strayed or questioned the destiny that had been laid out before them but they carried on nonetheless. The griots tell the story of Sundiata, the Lion King. The young cripple grows up to be the most talked about and loved king in all of Mali’s history. D.T. Niane writes this story that has been passed onto him for generations. The theme of destiny and fate plays a large role in the course of events in this old epic from Africa. His role as king, exile and victorious return to the homeland are all controlled by fate’s effects in his life.
Even before Sundiata s birth a hunter-traveler tells of a great king that will unite all of Mali. The traveler prophesies that the powerful heir to the throne would be born from a foreign, ugly woman . The tales of greatness impressed the king of Mali enough that he trusted what the hunter had said to him. After Sundiata’s birth, huge obstacles were not enough to stop his continuos path to the throne. After he was born there seemed to be doubts of his greatness. Being crippled in a society where physical skills were highly valued is perhaps the greatest curse possible. But learning to walk, in defiance to others in the palace, was only a small achievement compared to the milestones that he would pass in his lifetime. This attitude of being able to overcome all is helped by a spirit of blessing that helped Sundiata, perhaps because of his pre-ordained status in life. The obscure traveler who told magnificent stories is possible the most important figure in this part of the tale, in truth, creating the life of a prince that Sundiata would live. The book is heavily imbued with fate as we can see in this quote, Each man finds his way already marked out for him and he can change nothing of it . It is obvious that the hand of fate played a very large role with all the characters in the book. If we look at Sassouma Berete who is the first wife of the king we can see that even she has accepted Sundiata s destiny when she tries to have him killed. I want to kill Sundiata…His destiny runs counter to my sons
The course to Sundiata’s travels is ultimately set by the goal of kingship of Mali. Exile is deemed necessary by Sogolon as a measure to protect her children from Sassouma. The wise mother comforts Sundiata with the assurance of his place, “You will return to reign when you are a man, for it is in Mali that your destiny must be fulfilled” . The theme of the young Sundiata excepting his fate is evident when he accepts that he must go into exile in order for him to fulfill his destiny . So into Africa the group goes on a seemingly hopeless journey. This trip proves far from useless. In fact it helps him to acquire many of the attributes that the fates would bestow on a ruler of his magnitude. During this time of his exile, Sundiata is able to become allies with many countries. These newfound friendships become helpful to him when he is at war with Soumaoro. For example, the kingdom of Mema is a kind of home to Sundiata as he grows up in exile . Because of their friendly treatment of foreigners, Sundiata deals favorably with them when he is king and ruler over all of Mali. In a ceremony near the end of the story, he gives the land of Mema and other areas back to their original leaders as a symbol of trust and united strength . Sundiata’s absence in Mali also is beneficial to him from a practical, safety standpoint. During his time away, a huge number of citizens were executed by Soumaoro and his armies. To kill the royal family and destroy the leadership and spirit of Mali was the goal of the tyrant. It is quite possible that if Sundiata had stayed in his homeland through his teenage years, he would have been killed by the invaders or the plotting Sassouma. Being away gives him the opportunity to fulfill the plans laid out for him. Since many years of Sundiata’s young life are spent in foreign courts and unfamiliar palaces, a passion and love for his own home country is created. Being deprived of his own land helped him to keep spirit in his fight to reclaim Mali. Knowing that one day he would come back and right all the wrongs that his exile had created, is a driving force that helps him believe in the destiny that lies before him. Fate plays an important role in the travels and return of Sundiata and his family, and destiny further creates the course preset for the Lion King. When Sundiata enters the world, laid out before him will be a struggle not unlike the stories of Moses. His entire life is spent fulfilling the plans that fate has set for him. Sundiata finds that he cannot go against destiny or the ultimate direction that he is given. This epic demonstrates beautifully the destiny that a person feels compelled to fulfill.