November 30, 2012
The Epics of Sundiata and the Odyssey
An epic is a long narrative poem that recounts the doings of a legendary hero whose action determines the fate of people or a nation surrounding them. The epic of Sundiata recapitulates the story of the foundation of the Mali Empire. The epic is told by the griot, an African oral storyteller who is responsible for persevering and maintaining historical stories. The epic of the Odyssey, also known as the “Father of Epic Poetry”, is about the journey and wanderings of the Greek hero Odysseus. Though very different, both epics feature distinct themes and epic conventions throughout their story. The themes and conventions between the two epics can be compared and contrasted. The Odyssey is an epic telling the story of Odysseus’ journey as he returns home after the ten year Trojan War. The epic tells of the dangers, distractions, and adventures Odysseus faces on his journey back home. In the textbook used for readings, the text is focused on books nine and ten of Homers great tale. These two books are where most of Odysseus’ travels is both helped and hindered by gods. Some central themes in the Odyssey include wandering, cunning, and loyalty. Wandering and hospitality are central themes in the Odyssey. Hospitality or lack thereof, affects Odysseus throughout the epic. Odysseus does not have the same home as he once did before the war. He is lonely and although he has a crew with him he yearns to be home with his family. His home has been taken over by a cruel, rowdy band of suitors that have overrun his palace. Believing that Odysseus is dead, his wife and son don’t have the power to dismiss them. Loneliness does not only strike Odysseus. Penelope, his wife constantly cries out for her husband in his absence, his son is lost without the guidance of his legendary father, and Odysseus’ mother claims that loneliness is the ultimate cause of...