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Sunjata the Archetypal Hero

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Sunjata, the Archetypal Hero
Sunjata was a king of Mali, a country in West Africa, and the founder of Mali Empire. He was born in 1217 and died in 1255. He reigned from 1235 to 1255. Sunjata’s various qualities that made him a hero dates back to his childhood; as a child, he had kindness, intelligence and supernatural strength that distinguished him from other children despite being physically challenged. First, his birth was noble because the foretellers prophesied it and he exhibited extraordinary willpower in his struggle to walk. Sunjata had great wisdom which was manifested by the way he handled fierce witches of Mali, the game of word with Mansa Konkon and his decision to flee Mali.
Rather than inheriting his kingdom smoothly, he demonstrated strength in adversity by struggling to obtain the throne. He went through exile and trials when is brother selfishly grabbed the throne. He was a patient leader in that he patiently waited for seven years before thinking or attempting to go back to Mali believing that destiny would eventually take him back to his kingdom (Conrad, David and Djanka 208). He demonstrated generosity when he allowed the nine witches who were stealing from his family’s garden to go unpunished. Other than that, Sunjata was a kind leader who welcomed strangers, and his loyalty was also remarkable.
The stories of Sunjata and Gilgamesh compare in various ways. Both had supernatural elements in them, and they both became kings in their lands.

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Foreseers foretold Sunjata’s journey, but as for Gilgamesh, he chose to go on a trip. The former’s wayfare had less violence since he was cautious, wise and warm towards people while the latter’s was full of violence as he wrestled Enkidu fiercely upon meeting (Kluger and Rivkah 179). The gods killed Enkidu for Gilgamesh to acquire the throne while Sunjata defeated Sumaworo to become the king.
Both Sundiata and Odysseus had quests, and they met enemies and challenges on their ways. They also had goals to return home after the journeys. They displayed authority, loyalty, and strength. Sunjata had influence and power in that at three years of age he confidently declared Balla to be his griot. Odysseus displayed his authority when his shipmen were sluggish on their task of sailing back to Ithaca their home (Russo and Joseph 256). Both characters were hospitable to strangers irrespective of their age or gender.
Works Cited
Conrad, David, and Djanka Tassey Conde. Sunjata: A West African epic of the Mande peoples. Hackett Publishing, 2004.
Kluger, Rivkah Schärf. The archetypal significance of Gilgamesh: A modern ancient hero. Daemon, 1991.
Russo, Joseph. “A Jungian analysis of Homer’s Odysseus.” The Cambridge Companion to Jung (1997): 253-68.

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