O Brother, where Art Thou
Aimee Horn Dr. Johnson 4-2-19 Title O Brother, Where Art Thou, directed by the Coen brothers features a cast of talented actors. The movie has also won several awards. The book The Odyssey is a timeless classic and it was written by the mysterious bard Homer. The book tells the tale of our hero Odysseus as he attempts to make it home to his wife. There are many ways to for the movie plot and characters, to Odysseus’s journey in The Odyssey. Let’s begin with the most basic and obvious similarities, the movie and the book both begin with the same line ” Sing in me O muse.” The Greek name Odysseus translates to the name Ulysses in Latin. Both Odysseus’ and Ulysses were great leaders, so great their men would follow them anywhere. Through the production of the film O Brother, Where Art Thou, the 2,500-year-old Greek classical, The Odyssey was brought into 21st century. gives the viewers another chance to get a better understanding and be empathetic with to the characters in The Odyssey. He does this by using similar scenes and characters.
The Odyssey, Odysseus is taken from his family and journeys back to them. He is forced to face many distractions, and finally when he returns home, he faces another challenge before he can find peace. In O Brother, Where Art Thou, Everett is taken from his family and journeys back to them. Along the way, he finds peace once completing his final challenge. Happening in the 1930’s1930s Mississippi during the great depression. O Brother, Where Art Thou, grabes the audience’s attention with feelings of being able to relate to the story. The epic heroes Everett almost mirrors Odysseus character. One of the biggest similarities is that they are both show higher intelligence than those around them. Both Everett and Odysseus have friends that are constantly getting into trouble with. Everett met his friends Pete and Delmar While in jail and a random guy they meet later on the road. Everts Friends, go along with everything Evert suggests, Pete ends up going to jail again and all three become outlaws because of it. Odysseus’ crew, who is his army, also go along with everything Odysseus suggests, end up dead because of it.
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Pete is betrayed by his cousin, when his cousin reports the three convicts to the authorities. Though this is not exactly parallel, this shows the obstacles that had to be overcome in order to achieve the goals they set out for. Ulysses Evert McGee is depicted as cunning, quick-tongued, sharp, leader, wants to go home and see his family. In the Odyssey, Odysseus has been away from his family for 20 years. Ten of these years he was in the Trojan War and the other tens years was spent trying to find his way back home. In order for Evert to go back to his wife and family, Everett and his crew escapes a chain gang. He convinces his men to follow him by telling them that there was treasure he knew, and he would split it with them if they came with him. After they escape with him, he feels obligated to tell them the truth about there being no treasure. He apologizes to his men and explains how he just wanted to get back to his wife and family. His crew who was almost done with their time now add an addition 80 years tacked on to their sentence and was extremely upset with Everett. Odysseus is just as cunning, quick-tongued, sharp, leader, wants to go home to see his family. But before either can achieve this, they must both go through many tests that shows their straights and intelligence.
While on the run, they both struggle with obtaining money. To overcome this Everett’s group singing about their lives for money. Odysseus does this in a similar way by telling King Alcinous about his tale for a ship ride home. Everett show how cunning he can be by coming up with a plain that cons a blind man out of extra money by making him think that there is eight of them. The Blind railroad conductor also prophesied the future of the main characters. This is just like when Tiresias prophesizes the future of Odysseus and his crew in Land of the Dead. Both men are vain, in O brother Where Art Though, this is depicted when Everett and his crew work on getting a get a way car fixed. Everett leaves to get parts to fix the car, but his main concern on his mind was finding products to fix his hair. This thoughts Evert off track and he forgets what he was sent to find was car parts. Odysseus finds himself in a similar situation when Circe tells him of the deadly creature, he must stay away from on his way home, Odysseus want to face it anyway and fight it. “Deadly Charybdis-can’t possibly cut and run from her and still fight Scylla off when Scylla strikes my men?” (Book 12, Lines 124-125, page 275). Odysseus feels he in invincible and wants bragging rights of defeating a undefeatable monster. She demonstrates how he is more focused on the glory and fame than reality and consequences.
Cirece is able to talk Odysseus out of it, if it wasn’t for Circe, Scylla would have destroyed Odysseus men and even maybe himself. Everett and his group meet a slave who had just been freed, named Tommy. Tommy finds himself in trouble when the KKK captures him. The group deciside to save their friend tommy. This leads the characters into another creative journey lead by Everett. He comes up with a plain to steal disguise off of some of the KK members in order to free Tommy. They put on the Disguises and impersonate being a KKK member. While doing this one of the members they stole the costumes from announce that they are fake and while doing this Big Dan T is struck by one of the burning crosses leading him to his death. This alludes to when Odysseus and his crew hide under the sheep to escape from Polyphemus. Polyphemus’ becomes blinded by one of the flaming spears. Both men convince their men to wear disguises multiple times. Everette and his crew wear beards and dress in disguises to sneak into political rally so Evert can talk to Penny. Odysseus is disguised by Athena, so he may talk to Penny at his house without the suitors knowing. Nelson shoots cattle with his gun, and eventually the police find the car and all the stolen money gets re-stolen. Odysseus is warned of the island of the Sirens, they have an ability to sing a man to his doom.
Ulysses is driving down the road when Delmer sees three beautiful women singing and bathing in the river, they stop the car and soon find themselves being seduced. Ulysses awakes to find Delmer missing. Pete thinks that Delmer has been turned into a frog. The idea of humans being turned into animals appears in the Odyssey as well, Odysseus has several of his men turned into pigs on Circe’s island. In the book, Odysseus battles a great cyclops, he eventually beats it when he creates a large spear by burning a log in the fire, he takes the spear and stabs the beast in its eye. Ulysses meets a large man that also only has one eye. The man is vulgar and has an appetite similar to the cyclops. This cyclops is also almost speared in the eye by a flag, but he catches it, however he is crushed by a burning cross. Ulysses gets a tip in the movies from the re-jailed Delmer. Delmer warns him not to go after the treasure. This represents the part in the book where Odysseus is on the island of the dead, one of his former crew warns him of the dangers to come. When Odysseus reaches his home, he takes a disguise as an old man, soon after he performs the talent of stringing his bow and wins his wife back. Ulysses also takes a disguise in order to win his wife back and continue to hide from the law. Despite Odysseus and Everett many similarities, they are still very different. When it comes to Everett has a better focus on tasks and less distracted than Odysseus. Odysseus and his men stay on Circe’s island, even after the clutches of Circe almost killed his men. They remain on the island for over a year, because Odysseus falls for Circe and in sleeping with her. Odysseus’s men inform Odysseus that are leaving and that they have spent too much time and need to continue heading home.
Odysseus men questions his loyalty, “Captain this is madness! High time you thought of your own home at last, if it really is your fate to make it back alive and reach your well-built house and native land” (book 10, lines 520-523, pages 263). This statement was referenced to how Odysseus gave promise to his men that he would lead them home. This demonstrates how Everett is a better leader. Another example of Ulysses leadership is when Everett and his men are tricked by Sirens, the men awake and find that Pete is missing. Everett tells Delmar that even though they cannot find Pete and believe that Pete was turned into a frog by the Sirens. Everett shows leadership by making a decision to continue their journey to get to their destination. The scene with the Sirens also portrays the Odysseys lotus eater scene. Odysseus’ crew eat a lotus, and they become happy and lose focus of home, Odysseus however did not eat the lotus. In O Brother Where Art Thou, the baptizing scene, Pete and Delmar repent their sins, while Evert does not. They too feel happy and forget about their destination goal, and the treasure for a while just like Odysseus’ crew. Odysseus leads his crew on a dangerous path. Some of his men even die because of Odysseus leadership and arrogance. Odysseus feels remorse but does not exhibit or tell his men how he feels. Odysseus leads his men to Scylla and Charybdis and fails to inform his men of what is up ahead. This leads six, or his men to die a horrible death. Odysseus explains the gruesome death of these men to the people, “I could see hand and feet already hoisted, flailing, high, higher, over my head, look-wailing down on me, comrades riven in agony, shrieking out my name for the last time!” (Book 12, lines 267-270, page 279).
Though Everett shows better leadership skills and is able to lead his crew to where they need to be safely. Both men show signs of vanity, and at time seem to only worry about their self-image. Odysseus lets beauty distract him of his promise to his crew, and his crew suffers the consequences of his vanity. Odysseus is so consumed with self-pride he is unable to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Everett was able to keep his crew together and point them home. Unlike Odysseus he is able to keep his focus and never losses site of his goals. Everett is also able to humble himself and ask for forgiveness by his crew and family.