comparison- odyssey/o brother

December 26, 2016 General Studies

The Odyssey compared to O Brother Where Art Thou?.

The Odyssey by Homer is an epic portraying the adventures of Odysseus while he is trying to get back home after the Trojan War. Two men by the names of Ethan and Joel Coen develop this epic adventure into one of their own, a more modern version that is based on the Odyssey. They call it, O Brother, Where Art Thou. It is about a man whose name is Ulysses Everett Mcgill. He is trying to get his wife back after being in prison for six years. After watching or reading both of these adventures, one is able to see many comparisons and similarities between the two.

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As in the Odyssey, the movie starts in the middle of things. The three men- Ulysses (Everett), Delmar, and Pete- have already escaped from prison, and we do not learn of the reasons of their imprisonment until later. The story of Everett, a man who has been imprisoned against his will for a long period of time, and who wants to find his way home to his wife and family are common to both the movie and epic. In Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus is not able to get home to his wife because, against his will, Poseidon is keeping him away. Another similarity is between the blind prophet in O Brother and Tiresias in the Odyssey. His prophecy parallels to Odysseus” encounter with Tiresias in the underworld. They both mention homecomings and have references to cows. Tiresias and the blind prophet relate cows to the successful completion of their journeys. In homer’s epic, not causing harm to Helios” cattle will bring Odysseus home safely. In the movie, cow just marks the end of the story when the sheriff can’t chase after them anymore. Another similarity is that, in both the Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou, the Sirens are present. In the movie, the Sirens bewitch Pete with their song. He stops the car and wades out in the river towards them. The primary difference between the movie and the epic poem is that in the Odyssey, Odysseus is enticed by the Sirens, but in the movie it is Pete.


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