O Brother Where Art Though Comparison to Odysseus

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  • Topic: Odyssey, Odysseus, Cyclops
  • Pages : 5 (1859 words )
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  • Published : April 2, 2013
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The movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” explains the story of Odysseus in “The Odyssey” through a more modern storyteller. In fact, the movie uses very similar character names so today’s audience can easily relate the movie to the original poem “The Odyssey.” For example, Ulysses is Latin for the name Odysseus. Even Odysseus wife’s name is Peggy, while Ulysses wife’s name is Penny. These similarities are shown throughout the movie not only with character names, but also with the original myths in the stories. Most of the same myths in “The Odyssey” are shown in the movie as well, such as the story of the Cyclops, the Sirens, and many more. While the myths are told differently in the movie, they still maintain the underlying story that was being told. The movie the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is a modern depiction of Homers “The Odyssey,” which shares several similarities that show the journey of Odysseus to his family in a modern day more realistic setting and shows the relevance and power of the story to today’s audience through examples in the story of the Teiresias, the Cyclops, the Sirens and Circe, and the transformation into an old man. The story of Teiresias is a parallel in “The Odyssey” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” while still maintaining their unique ancient day Greece and modern day attributes. In “The Odyssey,” Odysseus goes to the underworld to speak with the blind prophet Teiresias. Teiresias says to Odysseus, “What your after is sweet homecoming, but the god will make it hard for you…still you might come back, after much suffering.” (The Odyssey, Pg 170, lines 101-104) This is a reference to the long journey that Odysseus must travel in order to get home, along with the hardships he will encounter on the way. Similarly, in “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” Ulysses meets a blind prophet on the railroad tracks who tells a similar prophecy of his own. He shares with Ulysses that, “you must travel, a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril.” (O Brother, Where Art Thou) This is exactly what Teiresias prophesizes to Odysseus. Both of the prophecies end up being accurate throughout the journey of Odysseus and Ulysses. An example of the impeccable accuracy of the prophecies, the blind prophet on the railroad tracks even says they will see a “cow on the roof of a cotton house,” and sure enough they see towards the end of their journey after the flood. In “The Odyssey,” Teiresias makes a prophecy about the cattle of Helios. Each prophet accurately tells of Odysseus’s and Ulysses journey, each referring to a long perilous journey, and of cattle’s. This shows the similarity in both stories, while maintaining their unique differences. The trial of the Cyclops in Odysseus’s journey is shown in a more modern day possibility which closely reflects the story of events in the original Odyssey written by Homer. In “The Odyssey,” the Cyclops Polyphemus walks in on Odysseus and his men feasting, and in turn ends up feasting on Odysseus’s men. “He in pitiless spirit…reached for my companions, caught up two together…killing them like puppies against the ground.” (Pg 144, lines 286-289) Likewise in the modern day movie, Ulysses, John Goodman’s character “Big Dan” spots Ulysses and his men eating in a restaurant, and tricks them into going out for a picnic. After eating, Big Dan smacks both Ulysses and his comrade to the ground with a stick, as pitiless as Polyphemus did originally. Rather than eating them, Big Dan took all of their money and ran off. Both stories are very similar in the sense that the characters looks and personality are almost identical. Big Dan only had one eye and was considerably larger than Ulysses and his companion, very similar to Polyphemus in “The Odyssey.” Also, both versions show the Cyclops mercilessly attacking Odysseus and his men, and without pity or regret. Further along in the Cyclops trial, Odysseus attacks the Cyclops with a burning pole to blind Polyphemus....
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