What behaviors are despised by the people in Sundiata?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

These question can be easily answered by considering the variety of behaviours and attributes that are approved of by the Mandingoes in their culture. One central theme that is established is the way that this epic classic challenges traditional notions of strength and weakness and argues that appearances are often deceptive. Let us just consider this as a theme for one moment. Let us remembr that the buffalo that causes such problems in the lands of Do towards the beginning of the epic is only stopped when the hunters shown an old woman kindness and sympathy. Likewise, when the most potent witches in Mali are sent to assassinate Sundiata, his kindness towards them stips them of the ability to act. Kindness, again and again, is shown to bring its own rewards as the loyalty of various kings towards Sundiata are finally rewarded when he seizes his kingdom. Even the most mighty of characters, the sorceror-king Soumaoro, is undone by the scratch of a simple magic arrow. Strength, in terms of the way in which society thinks about it, is constantly called into question by the ability of simple acts of love to defeat it.

Secondly, let us remember that Sundiata's mother was incredibly ugly and yet it was her son that would bring Mali unity and free it from the oppression of the sorceror king. Sogolon is shown again and again to be scorned because of her looks, yet she is intelligent and becomes the favourite out of all the king's wives. In the same way, Sundiata spends most of his childhood being mocked because of his inability to walk, yet it will be him who will deliver Mali from the hand of oppression.

From these two themes we can say that the Mandingoes despised tyranny and individuals whose strength lay in brute power alone and also thought little of appearances compared to the reality that existed beneath the surface of such appearances.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial